Tax increase unnecessary

Dear Editor,

You’ve heard the saying, “revenue is not the problem, spending is the problem.”

Facts from the S.C. Comptroller support that saying and are evidence we should study issues and vote wisely June 10. S.C. general fund revenues increased from around $5 billion in 2004 to about $7 billion in 2014. During the same period, the entire budget, which includes fees and other sources of income, grew from $15 billion to around $26 billion; more than $1 billion average annual growth in state government.

When politicians ask for tax increases, we should ask what Columbia did with the billions in revenue increases for the last 10 years. Why have they not used some to fix roads? Did they spend it on pet projects instead of priorities? Last year the General Assembly set aside $50 million to match federal dollars; reportedly the plan is enough to fix 90 bridges. If $50 million can be leveraged to fix 90 bridges, why did they not set aside a portion of the huge annual increase to fix all our roads and bridges? Had the General Assembly set aside just half of the annual increases, or $500 million, we could have fixed every bridge and then some.

Politicians need to prioritize and fund core government functions before they spend millions on pet projects for powerless politicians who get nothing unless they make deals with the powerful, and swap their vote for a little pork for their district festival or Green Bean Museum, or some other boondoggle.

One final point, a 10 cent gas tax increase reportedly brings in $300 million annually. The DOT says they need five times that annually, so if we are not careful who we elect, huge tax increases may be on the way. Better go vote.

Phillip Bowers


Pickens Co. Republican Party

Celebrating graduation

Dear Editor,

This past Saturday, I was honored to participate in the graduation ceremonies for each of our Pickens County high schools. Far too often, we read the negative editorials in our newspapers related to our school system. It’s time we start celebrating the positive things that are going on in our schools!

Saturday’s graduations were an opportunity to celebrate. More than 1,000 students that will make up our community’s future walked across the stage filled with pride in their accomplishment. I couldn’t help but wonder whose hand I was shaking as I greeted each student — could it be the next president, or the doctor that will find the cure for cancer? We never know; all we can be sure of is that we need to take advantage of the opportunity we have each day to shape our community’s future through our schools by touching these young lives.

I would also like to take this opportunity to extend a huge thank you to our district’s teachers, administrators, and staff. Without your dedicated, loyal, and all-too-often-thankless efforts, days like this past Saturday would not be possible. While we celebrate our graduates, we also need to celebrate and thank each of you for all that you do. Pickens County is blessed to have great teachers, administrators and support staff who invest in our community’s future each day!

Dr. Brian D. Swords

Pickens Co. School Board Trustee