As the election approaches, candidates Dave Ballard of the Constitution Party and Republican Joshua Putnam are readying to make that last push to win voters before election day August 30.
Ballard will be appearing at Williamston’s Springwater Festival either Friday or Saturday, depending on the weather.
Putnam and the Anderson County Republican Party will hold a “Hot Dog Rally” at Powdersville Fire Department from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Saturday. Guest speakers are Rep. Jeff Duncan and State Republican Chairman Chad Connelly.
“It’s free and open to the public,” Putnam said.
To RSVP to the rally, email email@example.com
Going into the election, Ballard says the two biggest issues are job creation and debt.
Government regulations are tying the hands of job creators.
An architect, Ballard says he sees first-hand the detrimental effects of too much regulation.
“The construction side is one of the hardest hit portions of the economy,” he said. “Why does it take two months to get a building permit? We’re trying to create jobs and it takes two months to get a building permit. That’s nuts.”
The government has “overregulated in the name of safety and the perception of what’s best in the public interest,” Ballard said.
“We need to swing the pendulum back a little the other way,” he said. “Not get rid of (regulations) entirely, but swing it back the other way. If the answer is ‘That’s the way we’ve always done it, that’s probably not a good answer.”
Putnam believes facing the state right now is unemployment
“Unemployment is about to hit 11 percent in the state of South Carolina,” Putnam said. “If we can get men and women back into well-paying jobs, get them off of those government assistance programs, we’ll see growth in South Carolina.”
To recruit new industry and create new jobs, South Carolina must become more attractive to industry leaders and business owners.
“We have to become a business-friendly environment to recruit new jobs to the state of South Carolina,” Putnam said. “Everyone is talking about the state of Texas right now — 40 percent of the jobs created came from the state of Texas. Why can’t South Carolina be like that? Why can’t South Carolina have that kind of growth?”
The federal government has “proven they’re not responsible with the debt they’ve run up,” Ballard said.
“All the social programs in the federal constitution need to be sent back to the states and the taxing authority,” he said. “Social programs are the largest piece of the pie in the current federal budget. You move those programs under the states’ authority, you’re going to greatly reduce the size of the federal budget.”
To tackle the state’s spending problem Putnam believes “you have to consider everything on the table.”
“Our spending and our tax system are one of the key things that’s contributing to our unemployment rate. There are some things that government has to support,” he said. “But there are things that the state should never, ever have been supporting.”
He used as an example a program that he participated in — SC Student Legislature.
“It’s a great program, we need that program” he said. “But it never should have been state-supported because we never benefitted the taxpayers.”
That program lose state funding and is now doing fine supporting itself, Putnam said.
Education is the biggest piece of the state’s financial pie, Ballard says.
“We’re going to have to look at all of those programs in the education budget,” he saud.
Ballard is advocating what he calls the “4-2-0” plan.
Under that plan, school district facilities would be utilized year-round.
“It’s not year-round schools as many people think of it,” Ballard said.
Under the plan, the student population would be broken into four groups.
Every quarter, three of the four groups would be in attendance — with one group off.
“Every two years you would still get your average of 180 days,” Ballard said.
He said the plan would save money by reducing class sizes and school facilities.
“Your capacity is reduced by 25 percent — with one-fourth of the group not being in class per quarter. It would give an opportunity for savings to the taxpayers,” Ballard said. “The taxpayers pay for all this. The system needs to be answerable to the taxpayers.”
He supports a “100 percent voucher” to be given to parents to allow them to send their children to the school of their choice.
A “savings split” should come along with the voucher, Ballard said.
“If a family choose to send their children to a private, religious or home school that’s cheaper than public education, 60 percent of those savings would go back to the state, 20 percent would go to the family who shopped around and found that cheaper option, and 20 percent would go to the provider,” Ballard said. “That would incentivize public education; get some marketplace tools working in education.”
Putnam said that to understand what works and what doesn’t in the state’s education system, he would go directly to the teachers themselves.
“They can tell you what’s going on in the classroom,” Putnam said. “They know what needs better funding and what is wasteful. I don’t have a problem with teachers, I have a problem with the bureaucracy we’ve created in Columbia.”
The No Child Left Behind Act needs to be reformed, Putnam said.
“That’s a federal issue, but we need to look at what strings they attached to our state,” Putnam said.
“The testing isn’t really fair,” he said. “Every other state isn’t tested on the same level. The way they go about ranking the states is unfair. There’s always room for improvement. Every single child in the state of South Carolina deserves the best education possible.”
Ballard is a vocal proponent of the Fair Tax.
“I’d like to see the fair tax implemented on the federal, state and local level,” Ballard said. “The fair tax gets a lot of the corruption out of the current system and lets the people how much taxes they’re actually paying. It will be more even-handed — it doesn’t pick winners and losers.”
Putnam also believes that the state should move towards a fair tax system.
“It’s the fairest tax there is,” Putnam said. “It’s the way to go — a low rate, broad base tax philosophy. Less than 50 percent currently pay the entire bulk of taxes. Lower the rate and distribute the base.
“Can we accomplish that in one year?” he continued. “I don’t think so, but we can lay the foundations and begin to move in that direction. It has to be in steps to get anything passed in the General Assembly, I think. Two taxes I think we need to look in regards to reform are the corporate income tax and the property tax.”