Senator W. Greg Ryberg (R-Aiken) dropped a bombshell in the South Carolina Senate today.
He announced that twelve sitting members of the SC General Assembly have failed to properly file and pay their state income taxes. The combined liabilities of just three of the House Members who are negligent exceed $21,000.00
“The idea that any member of the General Assembly would hold the laws of this state in so little regard that they simple ignore them when they find them inconvenient truly offends me.”
Sen. Ryberg, an outspoken advocate of fiscal discipline and efficient use of public money, proceeded to introduce a series of bills that would require legislators and state constitutional officers to pay their taxes or forfeit their public office. Gubernatorial appointees would be held to the same standard.
News of the tax-evasion by SC lawmakers comes in the midst of a heavily publicized debate over the State’s budget, the possible use of one-time federal bailout money to fund reoccurring expenses, and the unwillingness of some Senators to even vote on an alternative budget proposal that increases core government services without annualizations by re-prioritizing existing spending.
The legislation immediately gained bi-partisan support as State Senator Robert Ford (D-Charleston) requested to be added as a sponsor. Senators Ford and Ryberg are both primary sponsors of the Education Opportunity Act (S. 520), a law that will expand equal access to independent schools and homeschooling through modest tax credits.