S.C. Senate Candidates Go Head-to-head Over Tax Plans

Tenenbaum, the state superintendent of education, said DeMint’s plan for a 23 percent national sales tax would hurt seniors and amount to a tax hike for 95 percent of South Carolina citizens.

“This tax plan would add an additional 23 percent on top of what you already pay and that goes for everything. This is a fiscal sham. A sales tax of 23 percent would not bring in enough revenue to fund the basic functions of the federal government, such as the military, Social Security, Medicare or veterans’ care,” Tenenbaum said, the Newberry Observer reported on Sept. 20.

Tenenbaum has said that she would vote to make permanent President Bush’s middle class tax cuts, including extending the 10 percent bracket, double the child credit and make permanent the marriage penalty reduction.

Three-term congressman DeMint has responded to Tenenbaum’s attacks by saying that the legislation he cosponsored would eliminate all existing taxes, including those on income, Social Security benefits, estates and businesses. They would be replaced with a simplified tax code.

DeMint’s supporters, nicknamed the “truth squad,” were out campaigning to share his “consistent record of cutting taxes and pushing to reform the existing tax code,” his campaign told The Greenville News on Sept. 20.

“It’s time that voters know the truth that Jim DeMint has a proven record of cutting taxes and eliminating government waste,” Charleston developer and unsuccessful Senate candidate Thomas Ravenel said at a recent press conference.

Tenenbaum has campaigned as a moderate Democrat who can represent the conservative southern state. When Seneca, S.C.-born vice presidential candidate John Edwards traveled to the state on Sept. 22, his first trip since becoming Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry’s running mate, Tenenbaum maintained a low-key presence.

Edwards merely introduced the Democratic candidate as she sat in the audience without a formal role in the program.

“I’m glad, very glad, to be here in the presence of a woman who has spent her life fighting for public education, fighting for the middle class,” Edwards said of the state’s education superintendent before beginning his stump speech, The Greenville News reported.

In contrast, DeMint has highlighted his connections to the Republican Party. In July, Vice President Dick Cheney headlined a DeMint fundraiser in Myrtle Beach and First Lady Laura Bush stumped for DeMint at a Sept. 17 fundraiser in South Carolina’s capital Columbia.

The candidates will begin a series of six debates throughout the Palmetto State on Oct. 3 at the College of Charleston. The one-hour debate will be televised live statewide on ETV.

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