Ballot questions looking for pulse of the public

sjones@thesunnews.comJune 4, 2014 

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    Republican ballot questions:

    1. Should Article I, Section 3 of the South Carolina Constitution be3 amended to include the following language? The privileges and immunities of citizens in South Carolina and the United States shall not be abridged, so that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of the law, nor shall any person be denied equal protection of the laws. These rights shall extend to both born and pre-born persons beginning at conception. Yes or No.

    2. Should South Carolina Law be amended to replace the state income tax imposed on individuals, estates, trusts, and others by reducing the rate of taxation by 1.4 percent each year until the state income tax rate for all brackets is zero percent? Yes or No.

    Democrat ballot questions:

    1. Do you believe each state — not Coingress — should decide for itself whether to allow online gaming and determine how to regulate online gaming in their state? Yes or No.

    2. The South Carolina Department of Transpsortation estimates more than $20 billion is required to fix South Carolina’s crumbling roads and bridges. Should gaming laws be modernized to fund the repairs instead of a tax increase? Yes or No.

    3. Should medical marijuana be legalized for use in cases of severe, chronic illnesses when documented by a physician? Yes or No.

It’s not just candidates voters will be expected to endorse or reject on Tuesday’s ballot.

If you vote in the Republican primary, there are also two ballot questions. If a Democrat, there’ll be three.

Repeated attempts to get information about the specifics of the Democratic questions were unsuccessful, but Kristin Sosanie, communications director for the S.C. Democratic Party, said the questions are submitted to the Democratic Party by members of the House Democratic caucus.

Sosanie said in an email that caucus members want to see how people feel about certain issues before they move them forward in the legislature. Then they are certified by the party and put on the ballot.

Much the same thing is true for Republicans, said Robert Rabon, chairman of the Horry County Republican Party.

He said that Republican candidates could use the results to decide if they want to make the issue part of their campaign.

“When the candidate sees the number one thing is jobs, all they talk about is jobs, jobs, jobs,” Rabon said.

Rabon agreed the first question would outlaw abortion, which he said would be fine with him.

He will vote “Yes” on that question on Tuesday.

But he will go against the second question, even though he knows the issue will be popular with most people.

“Obviously, most of the people will vote to take away taxes,” he said.

But he can’t support the question as written because it does not say where the lost revenue will come from. Governments need guaranteed income to borrow money, and Rabon said sales tax money (which may replace income taxes) is not guaranteed income because it can fluctuate from year to year.

He thinks the question is a step or so ahead in the process, and a replacement needs to be defined before you go about getting rid of income taxes.

“Until they have a replacement for it,” he said, “I wouldn’t support it.”

Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765 or on Twitter @TSN_sjones.

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