Open Letter to the South Carolina House and Senate:
Reject Cronyism and Protect Taxpayers by Sustaining Governor Haley’s Veto of H.4717
To the Members of the South Carolina House of Representatives and Senate,
On behalf of National Taxpayers Union’s (NTU) South Carolina members, I urge you to sustain Governor Haley’s veto of H.4717. If H.4717 were to become law, it would create the South Carolina Farm Aid Fund (Fund) and appropriate $40 million of taxpayers’ money to the Fund. This bailout of one particular industry is egregious and Governor Haley’s decision to veto it was the right one.
The storms that ravaged South Carolina in October 2015 were truly historic. Many Palmetto State residents had their homes and businesses destroyed. But using these storms as a pretext to grow the size, scope, and cost of government is troubling.
There are numerous problems with H.4717. First, the bill would only allow farmers affected by the flood to receive compensation from the Fund – no other industries. Government conferring a $40 million benefit on one particular industry is the type of cronyism that taxpayers find particularly distasteful. Likewise, H.4717 sets a dangerous precedent for taxpayer bailouts of certain favored industries.
Finally, while the Fund would be allowed to take private and charitable donations, the taxpayers of South Carolina would be forced to underwrite $40 million of the Fund. NTU questions whether serious private and charitable donations would ever materialize, given that the initial funding will come directly from taxpayers. The $40 million appropriated to the Fund by H.4717 could instead be used to cut taxes or make additional investments in the Palmetto State’s crumbling infrastructure.
As the oldest taxpayer advocacy organization in the country, NTU works at all levels of government to eliminate burdensome and wasteful government subsidies, such as bailouts for the agriculture industry. H.4717 is no different. Accordingly, we urge you to vote to sustain Governor Haley’s veto of H.4717.
Counsel and Government Affairs Manager