South Carolina editorial roundup

Published on NewsOK Modified: November 5, 2013 at 3:23 pm •  Published: November 5, 2013

In June, the state party dropped the suit, and in August, a judge dismissed the case, saying the county-level party, because it was part of the larger group, lacked standing to bring the complaint.

Critics of closed primaries say the move will limit voters' options, potentially disenfranchising voters in the minority party — largely Democrats in this state. Proponents argue Democrats can field their own candidates, and residents are free to cast ballots for whomever they like in general elections.

This makes sense. ...

Currently, the General Assembly allocates hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund primaries, meaning taxpayers foot the bill. As long primaries are being funded by public money, any resident has the right to participate.

It's in the best interest of political parties to limit those participating in primaries to party faithful, helping make certain that their chosen representatives are in line with their values and platforms. In exchange for that exclusivity, though, the parties must be willing to pay for events themselves.



Nov. 3

The State, Columbia, S.C., on restaurant tax ruling should spur change in SC law:

THE BIGGEST problem with the requirement that local restaurant taxes must be used for "tourism-related" spending is that it encourages cities and counties to spend money on festivals and sporting complexes and other things that are nice but not essential, even while they scrimp on police and fire and other essential services.

And because "tourism" isn't directly defined — and even less defined is the mandate that the spending be "tourism-related" — it has provided a huge temptation for local officials to push the envelope. As they do constantly.

What this means is that Richland County and Columbia and the growing list of other cities and counties collecting the tax are not only squandering tax money. They're compromising their integrity, and so further diminishing trust in our government.

Now that a Circuit Court judge has sided with the law-skirters — saying that since the Legislature didn't say whether "tourism-related" meant just for tourists or mostly for locals but maybe occasionally used by tourists, it could mean the latter — things are only going to get worse.

Which is yet another reason our Legislature needs to change the law.

Tourism officials, of course, want to change it to make sure local governments can use the tax revenue only on projects that will draw more tourists to the area. ...

The point that our state legislators never can seem to come to terms with is that city and town and county council members are elected from their communities to serve those communities, and they know better than the Legislature what their communities want.

Instead, we have a situation in which Richland County legislators tell Greenville officials what they can and can't tax, and Charleston County legislators tell Lexington County officials what they can and can't tax, and on and on across the state. If it weren't so tragic, if it weren't doing so much to keep our communities from reaching their potential, it would be laughable that this is the modus operandi for lawmakers who profess to value local control.