Not to be overshadowed by the U.S. House Dist. 5 race is a contest it created, featuring several long-time York County residents vying to represent parts of Lake Wylie, Fort Mill and Rock Hill.
Republicans Bruce Bryant, 65, and Tom Nichols, 62, face off in the May 2 primary to fill the state House Dist. 48 seat vacated by Ralph Norman when he resigned to run for the federal seat. The Republican winner will face Rock Hill Democrat Bebs Barron Chorak in the general election.
Bryant, a Lake Wylie resident, is a retired York County Sheriff. Nichols, from Fort Mill, is a retired mechanical engineering business owner and volunteer. Here is where both stand on several state issues:
Q: Are you in favor of increasing the state gas tax to generate money for roads? What other ideas do you have to improve road maintenance?
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Bryant: “I only would be in favor of raising gas taxes as a last resort. We need to first fix the problems in our state highway department. For some reason our state and our farm-to-market roads are so poorly constructed they just do not last. I have compared our roads to other states and our roads do not compare. Our roads deteriorate in a very short time and they must be re-constructed, costing taxpayers millions of dollars.”
Nichols: “I do not support the gas tax. Like most people I don’t object to paying fair taxes. I believe there are adequate funds now if properly spent. As for a gas tax increase with offsetting cuts in other areas, the idea sounds good letting out-of- state visiting drivers help pay for our roads. However, there is a trust factor problem in that I suspect the cuts would not be permanent.”
Q: What, if anything, should the state do with education funding to allow more money for high-growth districts?
Nichols: “The education system is one of our top issues where an educated citizenry is key to everything. I believe adequate funds must be available to all South Carolina schools while I do not believe money equals education. As for the distribution of state revenue it seems high-growth districts would have more taxpayers yielding more revenue. This is a very complex issue and I look forward to digging into it and hearing what the education community has to say as well as anyone with insight.”
Bryant: “All money should be distributed on an equal basis per student. Waste should be eliminated. Example of this, the state should maintain architectural design schools according to size and school grade levels. This would eliminate design cost and all the unnecessary bells and whistles.”
Q: What is your opinion on Constitutional Carry, or people carrying guns in South Carolina without a permit?
Bryant: “As a retired law enforcement officer this gives me great concern. I can go along with this provided that convicted felons will be identified with some type of documentation on their drivers license or S.C. ID. I am a firm believer in our Second Amendment right to bear arms.”
Nichols: “I support Constitutional Carry. If the Constitution gives us the right we have the right.”
Q: Do you support tax incentives to attract or retain businesses in South Carolina? What other ideas do you have for bringing business to the state?
Bryant: “South Carolina has some of the finest technical colleges in the country. We have the ability to train our citizens to perform any jobs that might be created with new industry coming to our state. We must have industry to not only give our citizens employment but also to offset the taxes on our homes and personal property. So to be competitive sometimes it might be our only alternative. We must look at industries like Boeing and BMW.”
Nichols: “In theory I do not support tax incentives. In the short term we may need to consider tax incentives as an investment. Long term I want to create a magnetic business environment by improving our education system, lowering healthcare costs, and cutting taxes for everyone.”