THAT’s what she means by transparency (or is it?)

On a day when the state’s largest newspaper leads with a second-day story about Vincent Sheheen answering questions that he shouldn’t be asked, about GOP inside-the-Beltway shouting points (the headline, “Sheheen takes on the issues,” was baldly out of sync with the story, since those are NOT “the issues”), it was shockingly refreshing to see another medium report on the gubernatorial candidates talking about an ACTUAL gubernatorial issue — South Carolina’s economy.

Here’s an excerpt from the end of the Columbia Regional Business Report story:

[Nikki Haley] said South Carolina could build upon being a right-to-work state by being a “no corporate income tax” state.

[Vincent] Sheheen said South Carolina has one of the lowest corporate income tax rates in the nation.

“That proposal specifically will help very few businesses in South Carolina because the vast majority of businesses in South Carolina pay no corporate income tax,” he said. “If we are going to keep doing the same things we’ve been doing over the past eight years, we all as citizens of South Carolina better get used to very high unemployment rates.”

Sheheen spoke of a government that doesn’t divide, but unites. South Carolina needs to increase funding to its higher education system, invest in alternative energy initiatives and expand the port system, he said.

“If we are going to brag about our port, we have to be committed to improving our port,” Sheheen said. He supports a designated earmark in the federal budget for dredging at the ports. “That’s how we dredge ports in this country. I’m willing to go to bat for this state to get our port expanded.”

Haley spoke of reforming the property tax system, supporting school choice and enacting term limits for legislators. She also vowed to make government more transparent.

“You’ve got attorneys that turn around and serve on these committees that affect workers’ comp, work the system all the way, but when they get to the floor, they recuse themselves,” Haley said. “It’s not that they recuse themselves on the floor; they shouldn’t be able to serve on those committees. That’s a direct conflict of interest.”

Reading that, the scales fell from my eyes. I now understand — I think. I had been confused that Ms. Transparency was so reluctant to BE transparent when given the chance. But she never meant her. When she says, “Transparency,” she means, “Legislators who are lawyers should be transparent. In fact, they should shut up and not participate, because being a lawyer is a conflict, in ways that being paid $40,000 for nothing but one’s influence is not.”

At least, that’s what I gather from that passage. In Nikki’s defense, it’s highly likely that if I heard that quote in context I’d get a different impression. I’m sure Nikki has a more nuanced explanation of exactly what she means when she touts transparency. And I remain eager to hear it. Perhaps I will, and perhaps I’ll learn more about the candidates’ stances on economic development and education and the state budget and law and order and environmental protection and other relevant issues — if we can stop talking about abortion and immigration and … what was the other one? Oh, yeah , the federal health care bill that was a big national issue last year. (All of which is a long way of saying, “Talking about our feelings about Obama.”)


13 thoughts on “THAT’s what she means by transparency (or is it?)

  1. Juan Caruso


    “[Vincent] Sheheen said South Carolina has one of the lowest corporate income tax rates in the nation.”

    Actually, TX, SD, OHIO, NV, MICHIGAN, DE, CO and WA have no corporate taxes or lower corporate income taxe rates than SC.

    Utah has the same corporate rate as SC.

    KY, LA, KS, HI, and AR all offer lower rates depending on net taxable income level.

    In other words, Vincent told the truth in a deceptive manner. When it comes to competition with Ohio and Michigan, for instance,
    South Carolina loses on corporate tax rates. Thirty-eight percent of states beat or tie us.

    Sixteen per cent of states have lower rates than SC, one has the same rate, and 20% more states have potentially lower rates.

    If this tendency to generalize is an omen of how Vincent plans to govern, SC may be headed for worse economic trouble.

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    Yeah, and The State seems to be a reprint service for The Post & Courier–today’s Metro section is especially egregious!

  3. Barry

    I’ll never understand the fascination with believing that lowering our corporate income tax rate will make South Carolina a magnet for more business.

    About 10 years ago the company I work created a new branch office. They picked a spot close to Atlanta. It wasn’t because of low taxes. It was because the executives thought that the outer areas of Atlanta had a lot of good quality of life components that the executives would like for their families.

  4. Joanne

    The “fascination” is actually just a shiny object held up to distract from real concerns.

    And, Juan, take it from me: I know Vincent, and he is a good guy. He wants the best for this state from business to education, from Charleston to Walhalla to Aiken and Allendale.

  5. Lexington GOP Voter

    Haley is very much like Palin. Looking out for herself while being deceptive and hypocritical. I used to be a strong supporter of hers. No more. She can’t be trusted to be honest with voters. Brad’s analysis exposes her hypocrisy.

  6. Doug Ross


    We’re talking about companies and industries, not branch offices.

    Look at Juan’s list of states with no corporate taxes:

    TX, SD, OHIO, NV, MICHIGAN, DE, CO, WA, (and UT with a similar rate)

    Throw in Florida and New Hampshire which have no income tax.

    Which of those states would economies with South Carolina?

    Which would trade education systems?

    Maybe Michigan… the rest? Never.

    Companies bring jobs. Jobs bring money. Money brings opportunities to improve education. Education brings a more attractive workforce which brings more companies.

  7. Doug Ross

    A perfect example is the growth Southern New Hampshire experienced in the early 80’s from tech companies moving over the line from Massachusetts. Why? No income tax and no sales tax. You can attract a lot of workers with a tax system like that.

  8. Nick Nielsen

    Once again, a ‘lower taxes’ comment ignores the obvious: Those states that have lower taxes in one area have higher taxes in others to make up for it.

    About the only state that is an exception to that rule is…well…South Carolina, and look where we are.

  9. Barry

    Michigan is one of the worst states to do business as ranked by CEO mag. So their “no corporate taxes” is meaningless.

    Ohio isn’t mentioned. Anyone watching the news recently knows Ohio has all sorts of problems in attracting business.

    New Hampshire isn’t mentioned by CEO mag as one of their best states to do business in either.

    Their list

    Texas, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee.

    One CEO as quoted as saying “the carolinas” is a good place to do business.

    – “Texas and the Carolinas are great for business,” said one CEO.

    Imagine that – and we have a corporate income tax and still make their list.

    What we don’t have is particularly good roads. We rank low in educational levels. We have bad markers when it comes to quality of life issues for young children – all things businesses get concerned about when they are relocating.

  10. Barry

    Doug Ross says:

    “We’re talking about companies and industries, not branch offices”

    I think even you get my point.

    Companies looking to relocate- especially medium sized companies don’t simply look at one factor (corporate tax rate) when deciding where to move or locate a business.

    There are many factors that go into that sort of decision making.

    My employer opened an office of over 100 employees near Atlanta because – as I stated earlier- the executives thought that the Atlanta area was a good area in which to live (as well as a good area to hire an educated, and skilled workforce).

    They never remotely considered South Carolina – and wouldn’t have even if they never had to pay any taxes.

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