I am writing in response to the Aug. 30 article titled “Trio of tax hikes coming your way?” I think that it is important to set the record straight about how highly taxed we already are in South Carolina.
In fact, for most South Carolinians, living in a state that has one of the highest income tax rates and one of the highest sales tax rates results in a combined burden higher than anywhere else in the nation.
The information listed below comes from the Taxfoundation.org web site, and while shocking, it doesn’t even fully account for the local option taxes that can result in double-digit sales taxes in some parts of the state. As an example, buying a meal at a Mount Pleasant restaurant already carries a 10.5 percent sales tax burden.
Of the 50 states in the country, fully 37 of the states have a lower top personal income tax rate than South Carolina. At 7 percent, we have the 13th highest personal income tax rate in the nation. Additionally, of the 50 states in the country, fully 33 have lower sales tax rates than South Carolina. At 7.19 percent (state and local option averages), we have the 17th highest sales tax rate in the nation.
Of the 13 states that have a higher top income tax rate, only two states also have a higher sales tax rate — New York and California.
When one looks at each of these states, it is interesting to note that New York’s top income tax rate of 8.82 percent does not apply until a single filer reaches $1,029,250 of income versus only $14,250 in South Carolina, thus making South Carolina’s top income tax rate of 7 percent higher than New York’s for more than 99 percent of all South Carolinians.
Even California’s top income tax rate of 13.2 percent only applies to incomes in excess of $1 million and an individual would need to earn $38,726 and a couple filing jointly would need to earn $77,452 before a rate higher than South Carolina’s 7 percent rate would apply. So even in this case, many taxpayers in South Carolina would be paying a lower rate on their income taxes if they were taxed at the corresponding California rates.
Given this information, one could reasonably argue that South Carolina has the highest combined tax rates in the nation. For the vast majority of South Carolinians, we pay one of the highest sales taxes and one of the highest income taxes.
It’s time to face reality. South Carolina is a very high tax state. We need to stop perpetrating the myth of living in a low tax jurisdiction.
Isle of Palms
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