Six candidates running for governor attended a forum hosted by AARP of South Carolina in Columbia Wednesday afternoon.
Each candidate was given the same amount of time to introduce themselves and answer the same questions asked by AARP South Carolina Director Teresa Arnold.
Arnold asked the candidates what they would do to encourage people to save for retirement and to ensure residents have a stable financial future. Here are their individual responses to the question:
Governor Henry McMaster on his proposal to exempt some retirees from income tax:
“For retirees, retired military, retired law enforcement, retired first responders, retired police officers, have no income tax at all on their retirement pay, but my income tax cut would be worth $2.2 billion over a 5-year period on everybody’s income.”
Lt. Governor Kevin Bryant on a flat statewide sales tax:
“The best thing we can do is reduce the tax on South Carolinians. The best thing we can do to grow this economy is leave more money in your pocket and you can decide how to spend it. How to save it. I support the fair tax. The fair tax puts you in charge.”
Former Lt. Governor Yancey McGill on increasing property tax breaks:
“You’ve got homestead exemption. We realized that every year that property tax on that building, we passed it at home years ago and what we need to do is change it. If it’s $50,000-plus we need to carry it on up to $80,000 to $100,000 a year.”
Catherine Templeton, also on raising the homestead exemption:
“In South Carolina, if you pay for your house, you have to pay for it again every year in taxes, in our property taxes. So when you retire, you save for retirement and you’re ready to stop, you’re ready to enjoy, you’re still paying for your house. So I would raise that exemption. I would double it to $100,000 on your assessed value for your primary residence.”
Phil Noble on saving:
(Supports AARP’s Work and Save program) “I think that’s the kind of thing we ought to do a lot more of. It’s creative. It doesn’t cost a lot of money and it can expand very, very, very rapidly and that’s part of what we’ve got to do is find those things where we can leverage a small amount of money to make a big difference.”
State Rep. James Smith on increasing incentives to save:
“I know that we can pass and implement this Work and Save initiative. I think that the way we do it is you look at the kind of efforts we did with 529 plans to help with savings for colleges. And we involve the banks and to make sure that there is a program that can be taken advantage of my as many people in our state as possible.”
Watch the entire AARP Gubernatorial Forum here: