What changes, if any, would you make to how school districts collect tax money under Act 388?
• Gary Simrill supports a move to single-source funding that will allow faster-growing districts to get more money. "Single-source funding means that the money follows the child. The way Act 388 was written, you could only receive funding based on normal growth. Well, Rock Hill and Fort Mill have more than normal growth. Act 388 is in its infancy, and we'll correct the inequities that have arisen. But you don't throw the baby out with the bath water."
• Herb Crump favors a similar change, but says Act 388 shouldn't have been passed in the first place. "They didn't think it through. Not only did it hurt fast-growing districts, it also hurt business owners. Most people who look at the bill say it really only benefited those in the Charleston area who own multimillion dollar homes. I'm a homeowner, and I didn't mind paying property taxes to support the schools. I want them to have the best."
The state has consistently cut money for Winthrop University and other public colleges. Much of the burden is passed on to students through tuition and fee hikes. When do the cuts go too far?
• Simrill said the cuts are justified, but Winthrop should get more flexibility in how money is spent. "In these tight times, there is a tradeoff. There's 33 institutions that are looking for funding. You've got two choices, you either cut expenses or raise taxes. Well, raising taxes is not on the table. Therefore, what we must do is cut expenses. Allowing universities more discretion helps in that lower budget."
• Crump said, "Winthrop has been able to build and expand its campus, basically off the back of students, by raising tuition. That's unfair. The cuts have gone too far. I would never vote to support any budget cuts to any of our state institutions. I don't see the logic in that."
Critics say payday lenders keep too many people trapped in debt. Some states have banned payday lending. What should South Carolina do?
• Simrill said, "In a perfect world, South Carolina ought to ban it. If you can't get to the first goal, the second is to tightly regulate and manage by capping what these folks can charge ... and limiting the number of loans a person can get."
•Crump said, "We ought to ban it. We don't need any more restrictions. It's nothing more than camouflage. Family Trust Federal Credit Union has what they call a lifeline loan. They use this as an educational tool. The objective is to help you build up a savings. You're not going to get that from payday lending. We need to promote more positive resources."