In a recent op-ed, Elliott Summey of CARTA laid out the reasons it would be injurious to the Lowcountry if CARTA were to be denied the $6 million a year it receives from the federal government in subsidies for mass transit.
A majority of citizens sent Mark Sanford to Washington to, among other things, cut federal spending. So now when he attempts to do it, those who will be affected by such cuts cry like stuck special interest pigs.
Mr. Summey acts as if mass transit is an indispensable service for our citizenry. If so, why are the citizens of the region not paying for it in the form of higher taxes? Why are we relying on the feds?
Isn’t the federal government the source of all our problems? One would think we are no different than all those other states that feed at the federal trough. And we aren’t.
Here is a reality for all of us to consider: The state of South Carolina is one that receives a disproportionately larger share of revenue than we send to the good folks in D.C.
Estimates range from $1.29 up to $1.50 in net inflow for all manner of programs we depend upon from highway construction to Medicaid for the poor and education for our children. Without these funds, services to South Carolinians would have to be cut or local and state taxes raised.
There is no free lunch. If we want to continue providing such invaluable services as Mr. Summey depicts CARTA, why do we continue to elect legislators who tell us we can continue to receive such services without paying for them? If we follow our governor’s pledge to its logical conclusion, we can never raise our own taxes for any reason — roads, schools or health care. And if Mr. Sanford gets his wish, the gravy train from Washington is going to stop rolling. What do we do then?
Please do not try to make the case that a vibrant economy will generate enough in incremental revenue to achieve the goal. That is a tough argument when you give the corporations who are coming here hundreds of millions in future tax abatements. That sounds good but the math simply does not work.