DCDP believes that education today is needed for prosperity tomorrow – good jobs employing good people who earn good pay require good schools. Education is directly related to the economy, and good public schools bring terrific new employment opportunities, too. The schools in our county are very good, but consistent goals of improvement should always be maintained, and to ensure our county, state and nation are properly maintained, as well.
While problems can occur in all schools from time to time, that’s no excuse for defunding them, and no excuse to create charter schools or fund private schools. Just like you don’t buy a new car every time you have a flat tire, we have to correct any problems that may occur in public education instead of simply walking away from them, and allowing our tax dollars specifically for those schools to go anywhere else.
We also believe that teachers should be recognized for the work they do – not just for the good of our children, but for that of our entire country, too – and in fair pay and benefits.
The Dorchester County Democratic Party believes in everyone’s right to accessible, affordable, high-quality health care. We also know that the Affordable Care Act made significant improvement to the accessibility of that right, too. During its recent October 2013-March 2014 registration period, almost 120,000 South Carolinians purchased health insurance from private companies via the ACA.
However, over 194,000 in the state remain uninsured specifically because Republicans in our state government blocked Medicaid Expansion. Even when Democratic legislators introduced an amendment that would only have accepted this program for a limited time and at no cost, it was refused by Republican legislators.
DCDP believes this rejection to be morally unethical, and because of the lives at risk due to this lack of insurance, and unethical in business, too, because of the thousands of jobs and billions in economic impact Medicaid Expansion was projected to bring to South Carolina.
According to a study by the University of South Carolina, Medicaid Expansion would have brought 44,000 new jobs to the state for $1.5 billion in income, and another $3.3 billion in total economic input. In addition, funding from Medicaid Expansion was to replace some ordinary Medicaid funding South Carolina receives from the federal government, and which the state will no longer receive. This results in a loss of $2.6 billion in regular Medicaid funding for our state between 2014 and 2020.
Hospitals in our state wanted it, the Chamber of Commerce wanted it, and a majority of South Carolina citizens wanted Medicaid Expansion, too. Despite these facts, Republicans in state legislature and our Republican governor prevented it from happening.
DCDP favors business development in our county and state, and primarily because it leads to job development. We believe that jobs should pay living wages, though, and which too many new jobs in South Carolina don’t provide.
For example, our state’s level of unemployment is the lowest it’s been in over a decade, according to May 2014 data. However, the number of Medicaid recipients in the state is now at a record high (and despite the fact our state legislature rejected Medicaid Expansion). To qualify for Medicaid, one must have poverty-level income. So if Medicaid enrollment is increasing at the same time that employment is growing, that means these new jobs aren’t paying living wages. And not only is that unfair to those workers, but it’s an unfair burden on other South Carolina taxpayers, too.
We have had some positive growth in employment, though, and right here in Dorchester County, including a vocational training facility that recently opened where students can learn skilled trades that pay well. DCDP supports this positive growth, which can also help bring more new jobs to our area. We also thank President Obama for the Small Business Jobs Act that gave many local companies the opportunity to survive during the recent recession.
Dorchester Democrats also support national policies that will bring American jobs back from overseas.
Dorchester Democrats support fair taxation such as that promoted by President Obama’s economic policy, which reduced income taxes on 98 percent of American households. We also believe that tax cuts on wealth should be allowed to expire without renewal, and that loopholes abused by corporations should be removed, too.
We hold this position not only for fairness, but also for fiscal responsibility. Lowering taxes on middle-class allows more Americans to have more money to spend, supporting our economy and employment. Reinstating fair taxes on wealth helps address national debt, much of which is the direct result of those unfair tax breaks and loopholes.
Tax policies that favor wealth are present in South Carolina, too. Consider the state’s vehicle tax, which is applied at a rate of five percent but for a maximum of $300. Not only does this deny our state millions in revenue every year, but it’s another example of taxation that unfairly favors wealth. For example, the tax on a $5,000 used car is the same as the amount charged for a $75,000 luxury vehicle – or a yacht – or even a private jet.
EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL
Dorchester Democrats believe in a country where everybody gets a fair chance, and everyone plays by the same rules. No one should face discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, native language, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status. No one should be profiled by these factors. Everyone should be treated equally under the law.
We also believe that no government should interfere with anyone’s right to marriage. Whether we personally agree with it or not is of no relevance. If two people of legal age agree to marry, despite their gender identity, it affects no one other than those two people. We believe that no one should have this right infringed.