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South Carolina /Lowcountry News

Jan. 28 - Gov. Nikki Haley and state officials tout Pplan to make South Carolina competitive

Category: South Carolina / Lowcountry News

By Lou Phelps, Coastal Empire News

January 28, 2015 - State officials – including Bobby Hitt, Secretary of Commerce, Janet Oakley, Secretary of Transportation, and Duane Parrish, Director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism – today joined Governor Nikki Haley at the Statehouse to discuss the importance of passing the governor’s three part plan to make South Carolina more competitive.

The governor's plan would: cut income taxes at all levels by 30% over the next 10 years; restructure the South Carolina Department of Transportation and refocus the agency on maintaining the roads we have first, in an apolitical way; add ten cents to the state’s gas tax over three years, offsetting a portion of the income tax savings with a priority on infrastructure spending. Details of the governor’s plan are available at

“We have had some amazing teamwork in South Carolina, but we don’t see us stopping here. In order for progress and success to continue, you have to change with the times. What we have done is come up with a bold initiative to change with the times and we are doing that for a reason,” said Gov. Nikki Haley. “With all of the success we have had in the past four years, we’re now becoming the state that everybody wants to target, and I take great pride in that. But if you’re going to be that state, you also have to be the state that’s in front. … That is why we know the important thing to do is to bring the income tax from 7 percent to 5 percent, so that we continue to be competitive.”

“Today, I couldn't be more proud to be a part of team Haley. I think Governor Haley's transportation reform package is a very bold and courageous one,” said Secretary of Transportation Janet Oakley. “This package of funding will give us $394 million of funding per year to move to a preservation strategy that enables us to restore our transportation system, to restore our most heavily traveled roads, and to do that using our Act 114 prioritization process and design projects to return maximum investment for the dollars spent. What this is going to enable us to do is bring our most heavily traveled roads and bridges up to a state of good repair and keep them at a state of good repair.”

“South Carolina is widely known as a pro-business state. Certainly, to retain that status, transportation is vitally important to us. The businesses understand that there will be increased costs in movements of goods, but they are comfortable with it,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “We’re making major investments in our ports related infrastructure, and I can’t say enough about the impact that’s having. We’re bringing a lot of international companies and they see South Carolina investing in new infrastructure on the coast in support of the ports down there, and all of those things say to companies looking at the southeast ‘this is a happening place … this is where we want to do business.’ … Bringing tax relief to South Carolina will be a major selling point for us.”

“First of all, in-state residents will benefit from the tax cut. People who live in Greenville may be able to take a long weekend vacation on the coast. People who live along the coast may want to take a vacation to Greenville or to the mountains at a state park,” said Duane Parrish, Director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. “Secondly, for our visitors coming from out of state, this will increase our road repairs, - something which now may affect tourism in a negative way with potholes and the like. If they have a bad experience they might not come back. If we fix these problems, leading to a good experience, people will be more likely to come back on other trips. We have wonderful assets in this state, from the mountains to the coast, and everywhere in between. But we have to protect those assets for visitors to be able to enjoy and come back.”

© Copyright 2015 Coastal Empire news, publisher of,, and All Rights Reserved.

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