State & Local Taxation

State & Local Taxation

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Current Issues

Education Funding in South Carolina 

Senate Committee on Education Funding Reform – An ad hoc committee was convened to explore the important issues around education funding in South Carolina, to draft a bill to be filed in 2021 for general reform of secondary education funding in South Carolina. Testimony was written by League Co-President, and respected economist specializing in South Carolina local and state government revenues, Holley Ulbrich. See below.  She also gave extensive oral testimony to the committee.

Education Funding Issues: Additional Comments January 22, 2020 

Education Funding Issues: A Framework for Achievable Reform Prepared for the Senate Education Funding Reform Committee December 9, 2019  

Testimony to the Senate Education Reform Study Committee Dec. 4, 2019 

Tax Reform 2020 (November 2019)




LWVSC supports a system of taxation that is equitable and ensures adequate revenue through:

1.  Comprehensive tax reform rather than piecemeal changes in the tax system, based on a review undertaken by a commission or other body that is broadly representative, has access to adequate support staff or technical resources, and that makes clear and ample provision for public input.

2.  Shared responsibility for financing education between state and local resources so as to ensure access to quality education for all students while maintaining a significant local role in supporting and managing the public schools.

3.  Providing additional options for financing local government bodies.

4.  Continued state oversight of local property tax assessment to ensure that assessment is done by qualified assessors and that reassessment is undertaken frequently enough to ensure equitable distribution of the property tax burden among property owners.

5.  Making the sales tax less regressive.

6.  Ensuring that any expanded property tax relief should be state-funded and directed primarily to low-income households through means testing.

7.  Revising the present regulations and practices governing use-value (rather than market value) classification for farm and forest property in order to balance the desire for green space and to protect lower income households with the need to prevent abuse and excessive revenue loss.

8.  Monitoring the use of property tax incentives for industry to balance the benefits, the costs, and the risks associated with these business location packages. Citizens value industrial development that brings jobs, tax revenue and other benefits. However, they are concerned that development also creates costs to existing residents and firms, service demands on local governments, pressures on infrastructure, congestion and sometimes environmental damage. County councils should continue to play a lead role in economic development in collaboration with other interested parties, including school boards, municipalities, county economic development boards and the State Department of Commerce. Future contracts should include provisions for repaying some of the benefits received if the firm does not honor its commitment in terms of capital investment and job creation.


The state and local taxation position was crafted from positions under constitutional revision, education, and local government at the 1995 convention. Two successive conventions authorized a study and consensus process, which took place in 1999- 2001 and 2001-03 on sales tax issues, business tax incentives, and property tax issues and was approved at the 2003 convention. The position on initiative and referendum as a method of revising the Constitution was deleted at the 2005 convention. A review of the Structure of State Government section of the STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT was approved at Convention 2009. Item #4 under EFFECTIVE LOCAL GOVERNMENT is a result of consensus based on a state LWV study of school district structure and governance and was adopted at convention in 2011.




Public Education Funding (2018)

Education Funding (Hilton Head)

Tax presentation (2013) by Dr. Holley Ulbrich, LWVSC Director Taxation Policy; Jim Self Center Senior Scholar, Strom Thurmond Institute, Clemson University 

South Carolina's Education Funding Puzzle: a series of LWVSC policy briefs on how public education is financed in the state

LWVSC Position Paper on Education Vouchers and Tuition Tax Credits (2010)

Why Should You Care about the Index of Taxpaying Ability? By Holley H. Ulbrich and Ellen W. Saltzman, The Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs (2019) 

Property Tax Caps (2007, 2008)
What other states do that relate to S1 and S2 (spending limits) and H 3272 (property tax caps):
Paying for Government in South Carolina: A Citizen's Guide. By Holley W. Ulbrich and Ada Louise Steirer, Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs, Clemson University (2003)

Tax Policy in South Carolina (2010)