Mark has spent his entire time in Congress and the governorship pushing for private enterprise and free market solutions over government control, regulation and growth. Mark believes a business playing field that allows companies to freely compete, without government control and directive, is the most basic and important foundation to growth in jobs and the economy. The political philosopher F. A. Hayek, called attempts by politicians to better the marketplace through government regulations as the “fatal conceit”…he was right – because what those in government never fully comprehend are the ways in which the market moves so much faster than those in government. Adams Smith’s so called invisible hand always has, and always will, move faster than the wheels of government.
He believes there is also a direct tie between our nation’s financial health, and the health of the economy. So quite simply, Mark’s vision for creating jobs and economic opportunity is about not only holding the line on spending, but also about getting government out of the way and thereby creating the right “soil conditions” for businesses to grow and thrive.
His record as governor bears that out, as his administration’s efforts attracted $24 billion in capital investment, more investment than during any other eight year period in South Carolina history. This includes Boeing’s $750 million investment in Charleston.
Consistently his team worked toward the basics that further attract financial capital – open markets, private property rights, a limited and effective government, a fair legal climate, an educated work force, and good physical infrastructure. So for instance, after a two-and-a-half year fight with the legislature, including members of his own party, the governor signed the first cut to the marginal income tax rate in state history. This finally brought the 7% tax rate for small businesses, partnerships and limited liability companies down to the 5% level that corporations were paying. He also signed the largest recurring tax cut in state history, for an annual savings to taxpayers of an additional $220 million.
For years, South Carolina was ranked as a “judicial hellhole,” in part because of the undue influence that lawyer-legislators were able to place on the judges they appointed. Mark changed that, by signing a tort reform bill that restricted and capped frivolous lawsuits, put caps on medical malpractice and ended the practice of venue shopping. Mark also signed a workers’ compensation reform bill that established rules for medical evidence and guidelines for “repetitive trauma” injuries which helped curb sometimes politically-tainted workers comp claims.
The Port of Charleston is perhaps the most critical piece of infrastructure to the state of South Carolina, and a gateway for billions in economic activity. As governor, Mark fought against the legislature’s attempts to micromanage the Port’s activity, and worked to make sure the Ports Authority was more directly accountable to the people of South Carolina.
Mark supports efforts to dredge the main shipping channel to at least 50 feet in order to accommodate post-Panamax vessels.
Mark has also been a staunch advocate of developing port capacity in Jasper County, having forged a bi-state compact with Georgia as governor to begin development there.
When it comes to infrastructure, South Carolina receives only about .85 cents on every dollar in federal gas tax it sends to DC. As a Congressman, Mark fought to correct that inequity and will continue to do so if elected in 2013. Mark believes that all federal highway spending should be block-granted to the states, free of federal mandates and earmarks. States, cities and counties know better where to allocate transportation dollars than Congress. As governor, he fought for restructuring legislation that for the first time since its creation in 1917 made the state DOT accountable to the Executive Branch, and took steps toward taking the politics and legislative micromanagement out of the road-building process.
Mark went to bat for small business again, when he opposed and twice vetoed legislation that gave $9 million in special incentives to big-box retailers, like Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shop, that weren’t available to their mom-and-pop store competitors.
Mark’s results speak for themselves – during his governorship, South Carolina added 3,000 small businesses, and ranked 15th in the nation in employment growth.
Mark believes in a fairer, flatter and simpler tax structure conducive to economic growth, like the Fair Tax and the Flat Tax, and is opposed to special carve-outs that bail out one class of business at the expense of others.
Of many other additional tools to better our economy, he believes energy independence and more job-creating domestic energy production is vital. He has also been a long time advocate for market-based education reform at the state and federal level, believing that school choice is a key in creating a better educational system so important to economic competitiveness.