I was pleased to see The Post and Courier publish the results of the "Palmetto Politics Poll" in the July 26 paper. Thank you for helping to commission the poll - more specifically the question regarding replacing the income tax with an increase in the sales tax.

I have owned and operated convenience stores, retail grocery stores, a retail liquor store, a small business bookkeeping service and a food and beverage business for the past 45 years.

During that period I have prepared and filed thousands of tax returns - state and federal payroll tax returns, state and federal unemployment tax returns, sales tax returns, excise tax returns, hospitality tax returns and income tax returns for multiple states.

Through our bookkeeping service I see balance sheets for multiple clients in a variety of businesses including retail, wholesale and services industries. While I am certainly not an expert on taxes or economics I have had a certain amount of exposure to the current tax system.

I have read the book on the FairTax and searched the Internet for discussions on the pros and cons of consumption taxes vs income taxes. Unfortunately, I find most of the discussions and opinions very superficial.

I propose that The Post and Courier publish an in-depth debate on the subject. Perhaps you could engage the University of South Carolina and Clemson economics departments to compete in something other than football, and we wouldn't have to pay coaches millions of dollars for their efforts.

If not South Carolina and Clemson, then maybe the College of Charleston and Charleston Southern would take up the challenge.

In my opinion, based on my experience, the current system is unfair, unenforceable and incomprehensible to most of us.

If you are not bored out of your mind already, try reading some of the 15,000 pages of laws and rules on just the federal income tax. This should be a topic of some interest to most.

Slightly over half of us pay income taxes, and almost all of us pay some taxes, including sales tax, gasoline tax and excise taxes on everything from alcohol and electricity to telephone service.

Without advocating one system over the other, I would propose that simplicity is preferable to complexity and enforceability is preferable to tax avoidance by many.

I would like to know if there is an alternative that would be preferable to the current system.

Bob Brittingham

Marsh Oaks Drive