Anton Gunn, S.C. House District 79

Wednesday, 10:45 a.m.
Our second candidate of this election season could hardly be more unlike the first if they had teamed up to do it on purpose. Anton Gunn holds precisely the opposite view on property taxes — he believes they were cut too much by the action in the recent legislative session, and that the burden was shifted to the wrong tax altogether. Lawmakers should have increased the income tax, rather than the already regressive sales tax.

He is also highly knowledgeable about almost every current issue before the Legislature, with extensive experience wrestling with various agencies in the executive branch as well.

This might make for an easy choice if these two men were opposing each other, but they are not. Mr. Gunn is facing a Republican incumbent we also like a lot — Bill Cotty.

Mr. Gunn, whom we endorsed in the June Democratic primary, was one of the more impressive candidates we spoke with in that cycle. I had not known him before, and I was highly impressed with his knowledge, his energy, and his zeal to transform South Carolina into the best of all the states.

He is a big man — a former lineman for the Gamecocks — and he does not think small. "What will our state be like in 2026?" More importantly, what do we want it to be like, and "Who has the vision" to get us there? He says repeatedly that he wants to get South Carolina "past the status quo," in which we have been trapped by lawmakers going for the cheap and easy, not for the best long-term strategies. He says we’re caught in this status quo in part because of "McDonald’s policies." A fast-food burger looks good, smells good and tastes good. Kids love it. "But what happens if you eat it for 10 years?" He says current policies in S.C. are no more nutritious, however appetizing they may seem at a given moment.

He says Mr. Cotty’s principled opposition to "vouchers" for private schools isn’t the same as being for public schools, and he repeatedly says it’s better to define yourself by what you’re for than what you are against. He proposes "signing bonuses" for the best teachers when they go to the worst schools. He wants teachers to have to face their peers’ assessment as well as those of their supervisors. He wants teachers who are letting the team down to be shown the door: "People need a job and they need to make a living. If they aren’t doing that job, you need to help them find another way to make a living." He stops short, however, at letting principals fire teachers at will, preferring the principal to have "significant weight" in a multilateral decision.

He calls health care "the sleeping giant," noting that everybody — from patients to businesses to care deliverers — suffer from the problems in our current system, one way or another.

He is appalled by the recent tax "reform," which moved school funding from the reliable property tax to the volatile sales tax. He says it’s like a breadwinner with a family to feed jumping from a good, steady salary to working on 100 percent commission — it puts the family’s needs at risk. (Mr. Gunn loves analogies.)

And more to the point, "Bill Cotty is the one who sponsored that tax reform bill. He’s the one that wrote it out on the back of that chicken box."

"When I win — and I do think I’m going to win," Mr. Gunn says, "the first meeting I want to have is with Bobby Harrell… to help me understand … what is your vision for South Carolina? How do we get to be the great state we can be?"

He calls himself a bridge-builder who would call upon his years lobbying on behalf of the disadvantaged (as director of SC Fair Share) and similar experiences to help him find the keys to working with other lawmakers of all stripes.

Anton Gunn is nothing if not confident. He dismissed the effect of a third candidate expected to pull votes from Mr. Cotty on the right: "I expected to win by 500 votes. With him in the race, I might win by 800 or 900."

6 thoughts on “Anton Gunn, S.C. House District 79

  1. Doug Ross

    I’d like to see Mr. Gunn explain why a person who owns a more expensive house should pay more in property taxes than someone who doesn’t. There are no additional services received for the extra taxes. There’s a $100K price range difference in the houses in my neighborhood. We all get the same schools, same police, same fire department, etc. Yet the top end homeowners pay about $1000 per year more for the same thing. How does that make any sense?
    I’ll probably vote for Mr. Gunn just to get some fresh blood into the House. We’ve got far too many career politicians. The Richland 2 school board has three incumbents running who have been on the board for 16, 12, and 12 years. That’s more than enough.

  2. LexWolf

    The property tax is a proxy for wealth. Wealthier people tend to live in more expensive homes, thus higher property tax.
    Your objections could just as well be applied to the income tax and sales tax. Why should Bill Gates have to pay more in income tax than you or me? After all, he receives no additional services for his much larger income tax payments. In fact, he probably receives fewer services because most of the services he requires he most likely provides for himself, e.g. security, retirement, health care etc.
    Ditto for his consumption. Why should he have to pay more sales tax on his private plane than I would on my car? After all, his plane purchase is paying the annual salary for dozens of workers while I probably barely cover a month’s salary for one worker.
    Gunn does sound like a blast of fresh air even if he is a Dem. If he would just walk his talk, he would probably be better than Brad’s RINO buddy Cotty.

  3. Lee

    Gunn’s concept of government is outdated and tied to more spending by the same agencies who have failed us.
    Show me a candidate who will make do on just a 5% sales tax, no income tax and no property tax ( a relic of the slavery era).

  4. LexWolf

    I don’t agree with the (lefty) author of this piece about the issues but on the approach to the issues he absolutely has you nailed!
    This statement by Brad DeLong disturbed me on so many levels and I’ve had difficulty sorting them all out.
    I am, as I said above, a reality-based center-left technocrat. I am pragmatically interested in government policies that work: that are good for America and for the world. My natural home is in the bipartisan center, arguing with center-right reality-based technocrats about whether it is center-left or center-right policies that have the best odds of moving us toward goals that we all share–world peace, world prosperity, equality of opportunity, safety nets, long and happy lifespans, rapid scientific and technological progress, and personal safety. The aim of governance, I think, is to achieve a rough consensus among the reality-based technocrats and then to frame the issues in a way that attracts the ideologues on one (or, ideally, both) wings in order to create an effective governing coalition.
    This, in a nutshell, is the worldview of the Sensible Liberal. It’s the belief that there are Sensible Policies concocted by Wise Men (and women), preferably ones with advanced degrees, which are Right and True and Good. Wise Men may disagree a bit about the means, and we should throw a few conferences to hash these differences out. Politics and ideologues who do not share the ideology of the Wise Men, who of course are not really tainted by ideology, get in the way of enacting policies which are Sensible.
    It’s a dangerously wrong view of the world. First, there are absolutely fundamental differences of opinion about the direction of this country which will have tremendous impact on the lives of people. DeLong’s been tangoing with Greg Mankiw long enough to know that we’re not just talking about minor tweaks. There are wide differences of opinion about not just the means but the goals, and those differences of opinion aren’t just about debates between Pat Robertson and writers for the Nation. Those differences of opinion exist throughout society, including in the club of technocrats.
    Second, it’s a useful conceit to imagine you’re above ideology, to plant your feet in a place and call it the center, imagining you have the facts on your side and everyone else is an ideologue, but that’s hogwash. Certainly some people are more informed by the facts than others, but that doesn’t free them from ideology.
    Third, as someone who has spent a reasonable amount of time around the kinds of people DeLong is talking about, I’m not sure I want them running anything. The sensible technocrats haven’t exactly had the best track record lately, in part because imagining you’re above it helps to isolate you from the consequences of what you’re advocating.
    How’s that “free trade” working out for Mexico? How’d that currency peg work out for Argentina? How’d that energy deregulation thing work out for California? How’d that shock therapy work out for Russia? How’s the privatization of federal government functions coming along? Oh, and how’s that Iraq war coming along?
    I’m not pinning all of these things on DeLong, I’m just saying that the Consensus View of Sensible Technocrats has been pretty disastrous for a lot of people. Sensible Technocrats are above of all driven by the belief that They Are Right.
    When the Russia collapse happened one Sensible Technocrat who was partly responsible for the disaster said it all would’ve worked out swimmingly if only they’d listened to everything he had said. Perhaps true, but not how the world works in practice.

  5. Jamie

    A Tenant’s Guide to Renting
    The first challenge every tenant faces is finding an apartment for rent that suits their individual needs. For today’s tenant, the most effective apartment search can be done using an online apartment finder. Tenants should decide what they require in an apartment or house rental before beginning their search. For example: the number of bedrooms, location or distance from public transportation and how much the tenant can afford to pay in rent, furnished or unfurnished apartment, etc. By making these important decisions first, tenants can avoid renting an apartment or house only to regret it later. Many tenants today are taking advantage of the convenience of the internet to locate apartments for rent as opposed to the traditional print publications.
    Once a possible apartment or home has been found, it is the tenant’s duty to thoroughly inspect the premises making a commitment in the form of a security deposit. A tenant should not rely on the landlord or the landlord’s agent to tell the tenant if anything is wrong with the property. The tenant must inspect the property carefully and ask questions about it.
    Inspecting the condition and functionality of the following areas/features of the apartment before committing yourself as a tenant is highly recommended.
    1. Kitchen appliances in working order.
    2. Water pressure strong, plumbing without leaks.
    3. Electrical outlets and wiring working.
    4. Walls and ceiling painted or papered without cracks
    5. Ventilation or air conditioning accessible.
    6. Floors, railings and bathrooms in good repair.
    7. Fire escape easy to use.
    8. Stairs safe and well-lighted.
    9. No rodents or insects.
    10. Heating system in working order.
    11. If furnished, check and write down condition of all furniture.
    12. Windows and doors operable and weather-tight; screens provided.
    The tenant should also check the security of the building to find out if there is a dead-bolt lock, security chain, or through-the-door viewer.
    BEWARE OF EXISTING DAMAGES: In order to avoid being blamed for damages that already exist in the rental unit, the cautious tenant should take every step for self-protection. Before moving in (or as soon as possible thereafter), the tenant should make a list of all existing damages and repairs that need to be made. A copy of the list should he presented to the landlord and attached to the lease This way the landlord cannot blame the tenant for damages caused by others and the tenant will know what the landlord intends to repair. If the tenant keeps good records the landlord will not be able to keep the tenant’s security deposit for damages that were actually caused by others. Taking pictures before moving in is also strongly recommended.
    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Rossano, associated with who “Conveniently Connects All People with All Spaces in All Places” has been dedicated to the Real Estate rental market for over 8 years. He has assisted over 25,000 tenants with their renting needs. Any questions about renting apartments, houses or other rentals, feel free to visit or email him at

Comments are closed.