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OPINION: REGIONAL COUNCILS- THE NEW SLAVE-MASTERS

For a central government to build a structure to direct the Individual in how they should live may be the most insulting offense that can be advanced

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The Brothel, the Government Grant Prostitutes and how they are controlling your lives with National Government heroin, excuse me, ” free” grant money, to plan and influence your local community’s direction and decisions. They are removing from you the greatest single Freedom the Founding Fathers gave to us, the declaration that the Individual was the ultimate Sovereign and his personal civil rights were above all other law, within the confines of Nature’s Law. For a central government to build a structure to direct the Individual in how they should live may be the most insulting offense that can be advanced. Especially when it is coming from the National Government in direct contradiction to our Constitution.

And the insidious way they have done it since the mid 1960s is, or should be, or can only be defined as criminal. The fact that most people, or even most State officials don’t know who or what a Regional Council of Governments is creates a real problem since they run the Brothel. The Johnson Administration established these NGOs, Non Governmental Organizations, to serve as the federal grant administrators as part of the Great Society. They have now morphed in to something even more dangerous. For instance, if there is a new program, developed by the bureaucrats in a federal Department, the Regional Councils of Government are how the federal bureaucrats administer the program in to the county and local governments, totally bypassing the State governments. And our local and county governments have been trained to NEVER pass up the chance for a suitcase full of “free” federal government heroin, I mean, money.

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Now that we have started to identify the problem, or the crime, how do we fix or prosecute it? I believe that first we have to get our State government’s people involved in the dialogue, since their rightful position in our governance is being totally usurped. Even though the States are Constitutionally empowered to define the operational governance for the counties and the townships, they are not directly involved in defining the operational governance of the Regional Councils. Doesn’t something just seem wrong about this whole deal? The Founders designed the federal government to be an entity of the States, not vise-versa, but the Regional Councils of Governments have been used by the Liberal-Progressives to make the county and local governments more an entity of the National Government than of the State governments.

Can a State Legislature pass bills that restrict the ability of County and local governments from accepting money directly from the National Government without State oversight on the programs that they finance? I must defer to the legal people on this question, but if not, what is the purpose of having a State government? Unless I’m seriously mistaken, counties and townships are legitimate governing units of the STATE government, not the National Government. If this is true then how can it be proper that the National Government totally usurps the authority of the State governments through direct bribes to county and township governments through the Regional Councils of Government? I think this question should, or even more so, must be asked.

God Bless America! And America, Bless God Again!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

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Guy Smith, is a founder and President of Patriot Business Alliance, a membership driven organization of like-minded businesses to provide opportunities for these businesses to connect and purchase from and sell to each other. The principal of member businesses will sign a pledge to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States in their business practices. They pledge to contribute to and support only those political candidates who overtly campaign on AND advance true Constitutional principles.

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Education

S285 … it is PERSONAL

What have you done to help one child?

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An associate mentioned to me recently that “I should not take it personally” related to something with our school choice advocacy for S285, the PACE/ACE Scholarship Bill (see HERE & HERE).

It was not like there was any heated discussion … just a general statement about the overall “fight” for any legislative measure.  In fact I tell people all the time this is a long game … don’t burn out … so in some respects I agreed.

But as I thought about it … I actually SHOULD take it personally.  Personally in the sense that it motivates me to push HARDER.  In fact we all should get (pardon my language) … REALLY PI**ED OFF … when we see legislators and others purposefully quashing game changing legislation that will change children’s lives.

S285 is not some unusual or untested school choice gimmick.  350,000 kids a year get scholarships under similar programs in 30 +/- other states.  The structure has been around for over 25+ years.  No Tax Credit Scholarship (TCS) program like it has ever been found unconstitutional.  Georgia non-profits raised $120 MILLION for their program in 1 day this year (HERE) … citizens love these programs!!!  

And worse … it actually worked in South Carolina for three years (2014, 2015 & 2016) until corrupt political operatives, monied special-interest, and self-interested “Republican” legislators DESTROYED IT … and in turn destroyed the lives of children with special needs … and a lot more.

YES … we should take it PERSONALLY!!!


Why should we take it personally?  Because between 2014 and 2016, when our independent 501(c)(3) non-profit was one of five involved in the administration of the special needs school choice program (as it is run by independent non-profits in 30 other states) … we helped increase attendance substantially at good Christian & “unwoke” private schools.  It wasn’t rich kids … it was middle and lower class kids with special needs that could not afford these private schools without our help.

EXAMPLE #1:   One dyslexia school went from 70 something kids to over 130 … in just 3 years. Many of those kids could not read when they were first enrolled, but within months (and in some cases weeks) they could read and no longer thought they were just “stupid”.  That is life-changing.

EXAMPLE #2:   Another one of our full spectrum special needs schools went from 5 kids to over 30 in those three years. The kids getting help were the poorest of the poor. Instead of being stuck in a corner of a public school classroom where they were mocked and bullied, those kids found a FAMILY. A real family and a place to belong feel loved, accepted and most importantly being able to learn.  It truly was a beautiful place, and the thought of what happened to that school (it is now closed because of the government takeover of the program) drives me daily to push harder.

EXAMPLE #3:   We also gave a scholarship to a kid who was left under a bridge as an infant.  Yes, left under a real overpass bridge … like in a movie, but it wasn’t a movie.  The child had problems – who would not … and no big public school classroom with 30 kids could provide what that child needed … and the family that adopted the child could not afford a $20,000 a year private school.  Well, we paid half of the tuition (the $10,000 legal limit at the time) and the school generously waived the other half … so that child was provided the help the needed. 

And that is our “WHY”, because of 10,000 kids just like this, because they are out there and they are NOT receiving the help today!


Haters to Blame:  There are some bitter, angry and envious folks out there who might say we are full of it … the political gadflies … ones who falsely accuse us of some personal financial interest … but what have those people done for a single kid?  A specific child whose life has changed because of what they did, legislatively? They have done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING … just part of the status quo do nothing problem … but they are full of complaints and GOSSIP … and I would not want to be in their shoes when they reach the pearly gates.

Legislators to Blame:  And yes, there are some innocent elected officials and others that don’t really know what is going on … even though they should know better than to plead ignorance, and they should be asking us what’s up.  But there are some elected officials and bureaucrats that know EXACTLY what they have done (or allowed to be done) to children.  It is why I have a “difference” with certain legislators … especially those that cry for liberty & school choice the loudest … our self professed legislative “champions” … yet they sit quietly if it might impact their re-election … or offend the HATERS.  It is not because I have some “political battle” with these people … or they are political opponents … in fact we could be their biggest allies … but because of their silence many would consider them hypocrites.  They know exactly what they need to do … and they refuse.


WHY WE ALL SHOULD TAKE IT PERSONAL?  We should because it is our civic duty … it is our cause and our cross to bear … much like many of you have your cause you fight for and take foolishness personally.  And we do if for how we have seen first hand how children’s lives … a lot of children in fact … were changed in just a few short years from 2014 – 2016.  We stayed in this fight for those kids and families that have no voice … and because of the CORRUPTION we saw.  We have been personally pummeled with lies you could not imagine … as well as so much hate it would blow your mind.  

But we put up with it … and will not quit … because we WILL help those 10,000 kids.


#NeverSURRENDER!!!

#NeverFORGET!!!

#ItIsPERSONAL!!!

Jeff Davis is co-founder of mySCGOP.com. Jeff is a ’89 graduate of The Citadel and in 1993 received his Law/MBA from USC. A tax attorney / CPA licensed in Georgia, Jeff is an uncompromised school choice advocate for K-12 children with special needs. Originally from Charleston, and having practiced in Atlanta, Jeff and his wife Olga now live in Greenville. Jeff completed his two year term as Greenville County Republican Party Chairman and is currently serving as GCRP State Executive Committeeman.

Jeff is also “barred” from attending the SCGOP State Executive Committee Meetings (HERE). Why? Because he dared to run against Drew McKissick for SCGOP Chairman – coming in 2nd with Drew only being reelected by 1.8% (HERE & HERE) – and in September 2021 he told the State Executive Committee that Chad Connelly had been under SLED investigation for a year and a half … and it was true (HERE & HERE).

Interestingly … Braylee Estep can attend the SCGOP State Executive Committee meetings … unlike the elected State Executive Committeeman from the largest county in South Carolina representing 12% of the entire state.


June 19th, 2023 Article: HERE


December 15th, 2023 Article: HERE


Have an opinion? Different or in agreement? About the above or something else? If so, we want to hear from you! Send in your letters to team@mySCGOP.com and we will be happy to share it with our readers. #SaveSouthCarolina!


SUSTAINING & INDIVIDUAL DONATIONS:

Make a Charitable Donation TODAY: HERE

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General

Hang Together or Hang Separately?

Learn from history

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Patriots Standing Up AGAINST Tyranny at the May 20th, 2023 SCGOP Convention … Will “WE” Learn?

We all know about this SC House “Uniparty” Rule Change championed on Tuesday by Democrat Minority Leader Todd Rutherford (D – RichlandHERE) and quickly moved through by Republican leadership (FITSNews – HERE & HERE). The “Rule” change that will limit amendments and debate on bills … and give the Democrat & Republican caucus leaders power to pick which amendments are presented … and most importantly which are not presented.

It’s beyond reprehensible.

We haven’t seen anything move this fast since the murder of our State Senator Clementa Pinckney (HERE) and 8 other souls on June 17th, 2015 … and Nikki Haley’s passage of a bill to remove of the Confederate Flag on July 10th from State House grounds … all in only 23 days.  Or perhaps the lightening fast passage of the $1.4 BILLION Volkswagen “deal” last year.  

Never forget … where there is a will, there is a way … so never accept “excuses” from your legislators … NEVER!!!


But why is anyone surprised by these “tricks”? Haven’t we seen this time and time again? From SCGOP Chairman Drew McKissick? Heck, a similar “Rule” change resolution limiting amendments was PRE-FILED (H4695, HERE) back on December 14th … this was coming … why are they surprised??? It is what these people do … and it is why SC is the most liberal Republican legislature in America.

A few SCGOP examples …

  • 2021 Greenville GOP ReOrg “FRAUD”.
  • 2021 “barring” of Greenville Chairman from SCGOP Meetings.
  • 2022 SCGOP “special” Convention Rules Changes.
  • 2022 SCGOP “condemnation” of Horry, Anderson & Greenville leaders.
  • The Horry GOP Leadership “STEAL” by the SCGOP.
  • The Oconee GOP Leadership “STEAL” by the SCGOP.
  • 2023 Greenville GOP Convention Takeover by the SCGOP.
  • 2023 false “Unity” Efforts in Greenville – working with the SCGOP.
  • 2023 Charleston GOP Convention “STEAL”.
  • 2023 Greenville GOP Convention “attempted” STEAL.
  • May 20, 2023 SCGOP State Convention “STEAL”.
  • SCGOP Failure to Recognize Duly Elected Charleston State EC.
  • SCGOP “barring” Duly Elected Greenville State EC.
  • 2023 Lexington GOP Leadership “STEAL” by _______ & _______(?). Yes, we know who …

This is just over the past 3 years … and certainly not an all inclusive list as we have heard dozens of local GOP stories with similar outrageous behavior.

WE EXPECTED THIS!: This SC House “Rule” change should have been completely expected … it was by us … given our experiences above.

But more importantly it should have been PREPARED for … but it wasn’t … because of petty bickering and turf games.


You see all the examples leading up to this SC House “Rule” change … but where were ANY of our SC Legislators when this happened … you know, the legislators this SC House “Rule” change is intended to quash … the legislators purportedly fighting for US? The ones needing our help … and asking for our VOTES? Yes, where were they when all of the above was going on within the SCGOP and “their” local County Parties?

Easy answer … NOWHERE TO BE FOUND.

In fact … and this is difficult for some to hear … some of those same legislators ACTIVELY PARTICIPATED along with their newly created patriot / establishment hybrid “splinter groups” in the ramrodding done to America FIRST GOPs … in apparent coordination with the SCGOP leadership and their cabal.

Yep … totally bizarre and why we teach “Watch what they DO, not what they SAY”.

All of this should have been expected: Yes … we knew this sort of “Rule” change thing would happen to them too … it always does … and it should have been PREPARED for by all of us. We have the numbers … we have The People … and best of all we have RIGHT and GOD on our side …

… but we don’t have UNITY!

We have a mishmash quagmire of independent groups jockeying for position … refusing to all come to the table and work together … and some, as stated above, actively subverting other America FIRST Patriots.

It has to STOP … or we should expect more of the same!


It has been said through history … in many different ways … as true today as it ever was … and perhaps best said by Ben Franklin:

“We must, indeed, all hang together or must assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

Will we have UNITY … NOW?: Greenville America FIRST Patriots are committed. We know other county America FIRST Patriots are committed. There are A LOT of us willing to come to the table … but will “everyone”? We don’t need to all like each other, but we do need to work together for the greater good … and it must be about SERVICE over SELF. We hang together, or we hang separately.

We will try again … stay tuned … and pray.

SaveSouthCarolina!

At the signing, Ben Franklin is quoted as having replied to a comment by John Hancock that they must all hang together, saying, “Yes, we must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” (HERE)

Ben also commonly used … “JOIN, or DIE” (HERE)

And in SC … United We Stand, Divided We Fall (HERE)


Jeff Davis is co-founder of mySCGOP.com. Jeff is a ’89 graduate of The Citadel and in 1993 received his Law/MBA from USC. A tax attorney / CPA licensed in Georgia, Jeff is an uncompromised school choice advocate for K-12 children with special needs. Originally from Charleston, and having practiced in Atlanta, Jeff and his wife Olga now live in Greenville. Jeff completed his two year term as Greenville County Republican Party Chairman and is currently serving as GCRP State Executive Committeeman.

Jeff is also “barred” from attending the SCGOP State Executive Committee Meetings (HERE). Why? Because he dared to run against Drew McKissick for SCGOP Chairman – coming in 2nd with Drew only being reelected by 1.8% (HERE & HERE) – and in September 2021 he told the State Executive Committee that Chad Connelly had been under SLED investigation for a year and a half … and it was true (HERE & HERE).

Interestingly … Braylee Estep can attend the SCGOP State Executive Committee meetings … unlike the elected State Executive Committeeman from the largest county in South Carolina representing 12% of the entire state.


June 19th, 2023 Article: HERE


December 15th, 2023 Article: HERE


Have an opinion? Different or in agreement? About the above or something else? If so, we want to hear from you! Send in your letters to team@mySCGOP.com and we will be happy to share it with our readers. #SaveSouthCarolina!


SUSTAINING & INDIVIDUAL DONATIONS:

Make a Charitable Donation TODAY: HERE

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FITS 2024

South Carolina … A State of Corruption

“Uniparty” corruption is a bi-partisan issue

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THEY ALL KNOW!

(Video: HERE)

Today is the day … Tuesday January 9th, 2024 … the first day of the second half of the 2023-2024 SC Legislative Session.  It is a day of hope and anxiety for many Patriots wishing to make a better South Carolina … and a day of opportunity for many self-interested “grifters” wishing to line their pockets.

We started off yesterday at the First Monday in Greenville (HERE) annual luncheon with the SC Speaker of the House.  It is a ceremonial kickoff each year to the start of a new session, and Speaker Murrell Smith (HERE) presented an inspirational look at the accomplishments of the past year and a peak ahead into 2024.  He spoke for just under an hour … but we could have listened for two hours as the Speaker was informative and had a notebook full of info to share.


However, afterwards we hit the road to Columbia for Chair Pamela Godwin’s Lexington County Republican Party’s (LCRP) monthly meeting … this time to hear Solicitors David Pascoe (D – Orangeburg), Kevin Bracket (R – York) & Rick Hubbard (R – Lexington).

[NOTE: Solicitor Pascoe led the SC Statehouse corruption investigation (HERE & HERE) several years ago that led to indictments and resignations of numerous … but in our opinion not enough … sitting legislators.]

We had Solicitor David Pascoe speak to the Greenville County Republican Party (GCRP) two years ago on January 6th, 2022 … and I personally took a lot of heat as a Republican Chairman inviting a Democrat to speak at our meeting … but “uniparty” corruption is a bi-partisan issue and we are dedicated to exposing and eliminating it here in South Carolina.

No half measures … all the way!!!


Since that initial GCRP presentation in 2022, Solicitor Pascoe has brought on a host of bi-partisan solicitors & sheriffs from all across South Carolina to his cause … and I frankly was floored to hear (as a guest, not a host) more detailed specifics about what we all know is going on behind the curtain.

Pascoe and his team’s primary cause is JUDICIAL REFORM (see HERE) … but let me assure you the corruption is EVERYWHERE. And it is not just financially motivated … in many cases it is just plain “pettiness”. Like high school bullies, these folks are willing to let South Carolina and our people suffer so they can have their jollies.

We see it in our school choice fight … and we see it literally everywhere in SC Politics … and we are backed up by some serious legal professionals “risking it all” as well. #NeverSurrender!

Watch the video (HERE). Each segment is a story unto itself, so we may need to break this 2 hour and 7 minute video down into smaller pieces … but here is the video in the raw.

YouTube Video:  HERE


WE ALL MUST STAND UP! Whether folks fully see it or not, we are building an ARMY to take on this corruption … an ARMY to fix your cause (whatever it might me) and my cause (school choice) … and our ARMY starts within our respective political parties. #FireDREW!

We have to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH … and we can’t accept half measures … and as the America FIRST movement takes over here in South Carolina … honest brokers willing to work across party lines for a better South Carolina are winning.

Know too we can’t fall for their tricks either. Keep your eye on MISSION … and if your legislator is full of “excuses” … he or she needs to be replaced. No more “go along to get along”. NAMING NAMES … NO SYMPATHY … and we are not falling for their tricks anymore. SERVICE over SELF … PERIOD!!!

And this is hard for some to hear … but we can’t fall for the grandiose promises of self-professed “fighters” … who talk a good game … but when you look a little deeper, do they really stand up when it matters? Or are they grifting off the liberty movement for their own enrichment?

WE have a lot of work to do friends … no shortcuts here … and no fear that we won’t win this fight either. Good always prevails … eventually. 😉


P.S. My wife Olga and I got sucked into this political mess because we just wanted to fix school choice and help K-12 kids with special needs. But we ran into a buzzsaw of corruption. So as a preview of the 2024 session …we are now going to watch what the SC House of Representatives does with S 285, the PACE / ACE Scholarship Bill. Proven school choice … or will they push for “only” ESAs which government controls 100% … and lined the pockets of one of their friends last month to the tune of $4.2 MILLION. Stay tuned …

Jeff Davis is co-founder of mySCGOP.com. Jeff is a ’89 graduate of The Citadel and in 1993 received his Law/MBA from USC. A tax attorney / CPA licensed in Georgia, Jeff is an uncompromised school choice advocate for K-12 children with special needs. Originally from Charleston, and having practiced in Atlanta, Jeff and his wife Olga now live in Greenville. Jeff completed his two year term as Greenville County Republican Party Chairman and is currently serving as GCRP State Executive Committeeman.

Jeff is also “barred” from attending the SCGOP State Executive Committee Meetings (HERE). Why? Because he dared to run against Drew McKissick for SCGOP Chairman – coming in 2nd with Drew only being reelected by 1.8% (HERE & HERE) – and in September 2021 he told the State Executive Committee that Chad Connelly had been under SLED investigation for a year and a half … and it was true (HERE & HERE).

Interestingly … Braylee Estep can attend the SCGOP State Executive Committee meetings … unlike the elected State Executive Committeeman from the largest county in South Carolina representing 12% of the entire state.


June 19th, 2023 Article: HERE


December 15th, 2023 Article: HERE


Have an opinion? Different or in agreement? About the above or something else? If so, we want to hear from you! Send in your letters to team@mySCGOP.com and we will be happy to share it with our readers. #SaveSouthCarolina!


SUSTAINING & INDIVIDUAL DONATIONS:

Make a Charitable Donation TODAY: HERE

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FITS 2024

SCGOP Political Director ARRESTED – Assault by Mob

Opinion Piece & Call to ACTION

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Braylee Estep (left) & Mother Arrested

“Assault by Mob” Charges

Can you start an article with … “I am not surprised”? Or better yet … “we were expecting this!” Or maybe … “in our opinion this was not the first time Braylee was involved in an ‘Assault by Mob’.”

Yes … Braylee Estep is the 22-year-old that Drew McKissick hired in 2023 as the SCGOP Political Director … for the entire State of South Carolina … in a Presidential Election Year with all eyes on our state.

Only experience necessary … being a “thug” and willing to “lie”.

Why would Drew hire someone like this … with no real experience … for such a premier position? In my opinion because he is more worried about protecting himself and his cabal from collapsing … than having an SCGOP Political Director that knows what the heck they are doing.

I have personally dealt with Braylee and no, she is not a nice person. Like many of the other “employees” there at the SCGOP office at 1913 Marion Street in Columbia … as well as the vast majority of the “sleepy caucus” of the RINO SCGOP State Executive Committee that do whatever Drew says like robots … Braylee is a “tool” … and her specialty is being willing to participate in Drew McKissick’s lies and “assault” on MAGA and the America FIRST movement.


Braylee Estep was arrested on Tuesday of this week for a drunken “Assault by Mob” beating … with her mother (née Stalvey) … at a Conway bar their family reportedly owns called Stalvey’s Watering Hole. We don’t need to rehash the details … there are plenty of news outlets already doing that … but to say the least it was not pretty and was extremely violent.

The only thing shocking here was that with her “political connections” she was arrested in the first place. It must have been really bad.

FITSNews: HERE

WBTW, CBS News (broke the story): HERE

WPDE, ABC News 15: HERE

The Daily Beast: HERE

Yahoo News: HERE

WSPA 7 News: HERE

MyrtleBeachSC News (bonus material): HERE

The State: HERE

Count on 2 News: HERE

… is that enough coverage for the first 24 hours?


Time to Start Naming Names: Is any of this opinion … based also on personal experience .. of Braylee and her ilk unclear? Am I not being direct enough? Yes, we have been calling our SCGOP Chairman by name … but it is now way past time to start calling out his cronies … by name … that have been allowing this farce to go on in our SCGOP State Executive Committee.

No Sympathy: There should be no sympathy for Braylee … she is not just some cute little 22-year-old girl advancing her way in the political arena … she is a “thug”. Her arrest is not an isolated event, it is an expected happening as part of her pattern of immoral behavior we have seen her exhibit at the SCGOP.

And there should be no sympathy for the “little old ladies” and “distinguished gentlemen” that are part of the SCGOP State Executive Committee (i.e., the “sleepy caucus”) that have allowed this all to go on for way too long. These people have to be held responsible for the utter self-serving “gang” that the SCGOP leadership has devolved into. No one wants to be rude to an 80-year-old lady on the SCGOP State Executive Committee that looks like your grandmother … but that same 80-year-old lady has sat back and allowed Chairman Drew McKissick to hire a crony like Braylee, allowed Drew to ignore party rules (and the law), allowed and aided Drew to harass and bully America FIRST elected party officials in Greenville, Anderson, Horry, Oconee and most recently in Lexington on December 13th (HERE) … just to name a few.

We are losing our Country … and we can’t be worried about offending the SCGOP State Executive Committee members that are allowing it to happen.

If the SCGOP State Executive Committee will not step up and END this farse … it is time we EXPOSE THEM ALL!!!

So, one question … ARE WE DONE YET?

FireDREW!!!

Jeff Davis is co-founder of mySCGOP.com. Jeff is a ’89 graduate of The Citadel and in 1993 received his Law/MBA from USC. A tax attorney / CPA licensed in Georgia, Jeff is an uncompromised school choice advocate for K-12 children with special needs. Originally from Charleston, and having practiced in Atlanta, Jeff and his wife Olga now live in Greenville. Jeff completed his two year term as Greenville County Republican Party Chairman and is currently serving as GCRP State Executive Committeeman.

Jeff is also “barred” from attending the SCGOP State Executive Committee Meetings (HERE). Why? Because he dared to run against Drew McKissick for SCGOP Chairman – coming in 2nd with Drew only being reelected by 1.8% (HERE & HERE) – and in September 2021 he told the State Executive Committee that Chad Connelly had been under SLED investigation for a year and a half … and it was true (HERE & HERE).

Interestingly … Braylee Estep can attend the SCGOP State Executive Committee meetings … unlike the elected State Executive Committeeman from the largest county in South Carolina representing 12% of the entire state.


June 19th, 2023 Article: HERE


December 15th, 2023 Article: HERE


Have an opinion? Different or in agreement? About the above or something else? If so, we want to hear from you! Send in your letters to team@mySCGOP.com and we will be happy to share it with our readers. #SaveSouthCarolina!


SUSTAINING & INDIVIDUAL DONATIONS:

Make a Charitable Donation TODAY: HERE

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Education

Greenville County Property Tax Increase Battle

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By MICHELLE SHUMAN, Greenville County Taxpayer Advocate (August 7, 2023): Who am I? Why am I here? What is our situation? Where do we go from here? These are the questions I want to briefly address.

I am Michelle Shuman. Some of you have seen my writings on Facebook and Nextdoor about the Greenville County property tax increase and other issues with the finances and operations of the government of Greenville County.

First, I am a child of God and I am totally out of my element. I teach preschoolers about God and His Word on Sunday so that is my comfort zone.

I am not a native, but as close to one as you can get without actually being one. My husband is a true native, born in the old Greenville General Hospital. My parents moved here in the mid 1960’s when I was only 9 months old and this became home.

I am going to give you a little bit of my life and work experience because it ties into some of what I am doing now with the County tax issue. You need to understand, I am just one of you. I am just a taxpayer seeking answers and frustrated with my government. I don’t have any special degrees or experience. My college and master’s degrees are in education.

After finishing my master’s degree, I moved to West Virginia for 5 years in the early 90’s to teach in a small Christian school near my grandparents. In the summers, I worked in a company’s accounting department where I quickly learned data entry skills and collections. Part of the collections’ duties involved research and problem solving. I moved back here in the mid 90’s and haven’t left since. I worked in healthcare briefly then began working for a real estate developer and builder. Part of my responsibility there was again data entry and spreadsheets. In particular, I entered the information so that one of the owners could keep a close watch on the costs of each individual house. He literally nickled and dimed each one, every single house. In addition, I helped with property management on some of the commercial properties including the office we were in which included moving it into a new space at one point. I’ve also worked for Nuvox Communications where I did auditing of their commissions systems as well as other work in their commissions department. Later, I would work in the commercial real estate industry where I really picked up a lot more experience with leases, sale of commercial property, zoning, codes, etc. Eventually I would end up working for a politician who is now no longer serving so now I can talk.

I bought my house in 2004 before my husband and I ever started dating. I had big dreams. It’s a cottage on a nice 1/3 acre. I wanted to make some changes. But the change in the property tax law changed all of that. If we made the changes I dreamed of, the reassessment would cause the taxes to skyrocket.

Early this past winter after we had paid off our home in the fall, my husband and I discussed that regrettably we would never really own our home because of property taxes. Another reality is if we were trying to buy a house today, the same house would be out of our price range.

When the Greenville County Council started talking about raising our property tax millage, I started thinking about the situation and what I knew about the laws and taxes. Ever since I started working in real estate the first time, I’ve watched the real estate around me. I, like I’m sure many of you, questioned if the County isn’t getting additional taxes from reassessment and all of the sales. So, I got up one Saturday morning and started researching my own street. I knew which houses had sold and even the ones that had been remodeled or had additions. That was the start of my research. All of this information is based on public records. Anyone can easily access the information.

I did the taxable values back to 2016, but I could only see the last 3 years of tax bills online. I looked at the county tax line of the property tax bills only. In 2021, the County received an addition $294.79 in taxes over what it received in 2020. In 2022, the County received an additional $1,194.34 in taxes over what it received in 2021. The increases in taxable values were $73,250 for 2020 over 2019, $362,920 for 2021 over 2020, and $628,960 for 2022 over 2021. Most of these homes are owner occupied and only two have undergone significant remodeling or additions. All other increases are either from sales or reassessment. So yes, reassessment, remodeling, and sales is making a difference in what our County gets.

I did this same exercise to see the difference in a newly developed subdivision near my home and I also looked at some new commercial properties and apartments compared to existing commercial properties and apartments. Every time the results showed that the County is getting more money from the reassessments, sales, developments, and remodeling.

Another thing I looked at was the overall property tax revenues for the County back to 2015. The previous budgets are all online on the County’s website. I looked at property tax revenue only and not any other revenue source that the County has.

The County is increasing its property tax revenues every year on the average of 4.89%. Even in the reassessment year, the increase was 3.59%. In 2015, the County took in almost $81 million. In 2022, the County took in almost $113 million. So, in 2022 the County took in $32 million more than they did in 2015. During this time there has not been a millage increase yet the amount of money taken in has still increased every single year including the reassessment year.

This information took me to asking questions and learning more information. I discovered the SC Association of Counties website. This is a great resource of information. Among the wealth of information is definitions, tables, comparisons of the State’s counties and opinions on issues. This was a great way to start checking the information that our county officials were giving us. Among the many reports on the website is a report for each year that gives each county in the state and the different taxes and fees charged in each county. The most recent information they have is for 2022 so that is the numbers we will be using.

First, what is millage? It’s just a fancy term for the way property tax rates are expressed and is written as a percent number. A mil is equal to $1 of tax per $1000 in assessed value.

Below is the breakdown for the number that the SC Association of Counties is using for its comparisons in defining “County Base Millage Rate.” In 2022, Greenville County’s base millage rate was 59 mils: County General Fund: .03930, Greenville Tech: .00500, Library: .00800, Art Museum: .00140, Debt: .00040, Charity Hospitalization: .00230, Certificates of Participation: .00100, and Solid Waste: .00170. This does not include any other entity like municipalities, school board, fire districts, sewer, etc. This number does include Greenville Tech and the Library because that is what the SC Association of Counties included. We all pay this base amount no matter where we live. In my writings, this is the number and definition I have stuck to when comparing us with other counties.

The value of one mil is an approximate value based on a percentage of the county’s total assessed value contingent upon 100% of the tax being collected. The value of a mil is important because it shows where we rank in the state as compared to the other counties based on the assessment of our properties. It is very important to note that our county tax assessor’s office sets the taxable assessed value on each property. That may or may not be market rate.

For 2022, Greenville County’s value of a mil is $2,811,527. For 2022, we are ranked second behind Charleston County which has a value of a mil of $4.7 million. Horry County is 3rd in the state at $2.7 million.

In Greenville County we have a lower millage rate, but are paying more in taxes because our assessed value is higher. All of our neighboring counties have a much lower value of a mil. This means a house appraised for $250,000 in Greenville would be considered less house than one appraised for $250,000 in another upstate county. To raise $20 million the approximate amount our County Council is seeking to raise, Anderson would need to increase their millage by 23, Pickens by 31, Oconee by 33, Laurens by 107, and Spartanburg by 130. So, when our leaders try to make it sound like we are low in our taxes compared to others, they are not telling the full story. Yes, our millage is lower, but our properties are assessed considerably higher than they would be in other counties.

Over this past weekend I was given a piece of paper by someone not on County Council. I had not seen this information before. It was something that Joe Kernell gave to the Council but was never made public. On it, Mr. Kernell gives the 2023 value of a mil for Greenville County as $2,975,570. This number is dated April 4, 2023 long before our real property tax bills will be printed. In the budget, he bases his estimates on collecting 88% of the taxes due the County. Based on this new value of a mil, this means that without the tax increase the County’s property tax revenue was estimated to go up to $126,735,477. This is an increase of $13,775,081 over the 2022 collections. With the tax increase, the revenue is estimated to go up to $145,064,988 which is an increase of $26,258,824.

To figure your property tax: the taxable appraised value is multiplied by the assessment ratio. That amount is then multiplied by the millage rate. On the County’s website, there is a table for 2022 that shows each tax district and the total millage for that district combining all taxing entities.

I listened to the budget workshop and started reading the budget. Inordinately high budget increases started jumping out at me and when I would try to find out why, there weren’t any concrete answers. I learned we don’t do zero-based budgeting. We also don’t have a true budget, not even really a spending bill as Joe Kernell is authorized to transfer money from account to account however and whenever he desires without asking the County Council thereby changing the budget. An example of this is the time when he put a $1 million crane purchase in the budget under roads. The money for a new crane was in there to reserve the money for future use. No one is sure whatever really happened to the money. He actually referred to the crane money at this year’s budget workshop. Then I looked at the Auditor’s report for 2022 and even more questions arose.

I also took the expenses that are listed on the County’s website for both the new buildings and the Halton Road building and put them in a spreadsheet. Talk about eye-opening. Here is where I discovered we spent just under $60,000 on water bottles, coffee cups, and coffee tumblers alone. This exercise also showed how sloppy things are entered into the website. Whether it was accidental or intentional so we wouldn’t know the whole truth, I don’t know, but in an organization that size there is no excuse for the sloppiness.

A lot of my writing came in direct response to things that were said on the news and in meetings by our county officials.

I’ve had multiple people reach out to me in private to give me information or to tell me where to look. I don’t reveal my sources.

There remains a pile of questions to ask and information to sort through. There are still all of the questions I’ve asked that need to be answered.

This same research really needs to be done for each governing entity within our county.

Yes, we lost the vote on the property taxes, the battle. But we are in a war which we have to continue to fight and win. Now is the time to start working on replacing these people who voted against the tax payer. Our county government must become more open. We must put pressure on them to put more things online. They must stop giving money away to special interests. Just because it sounds good doesn’t mean we the tax payer should be paying for it. You can look for the roads to come up again soon in the form of another tax – probably either a sales tax or an additional road maintenance fee. You can also look for a discussion on the Triumph Soccer Stadium. Is the money hidden in the budget? Probably, but where? Only Joe Kernell knows for sure. We must not continue to allow the citizens to have a short memory. We must continually remind them. My goal is to continue to write on issues and keep reminding people so that we don’t forget before the local election cycle starts next year.

You can watch Mrs. Shuman’s presentation below –

https://youtu.be/0YzRp5I-mFs?t=1002

Resources:

Greenville County website: www.greenvillecounty.org

The South Carolina Association of Counties website: www.sccounties.org)

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Controlled Opposition … Does It Exist?

The concept will require you to re-examine everything you believe.

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We can’t take credit for the above image, it is from a Facebook post yesterday (HERE) by our friends at Palmetto State Watch … but the concept of “Controlled Opposition” is one of the most important in our entire political process.

Remember, “NOTHING is what it seems in Politics.  In fact, it is important to understand that many things in politics are exactly the opposite of what they appear to be.  

Controlled opposition has happened throughout history, for thousands of years, and it is most assuredly happening today.  When someone tells you times are different now … run away!!!  History repeats, and it always will … that is just part of the human condition.


Controlled Opposition: a strategy in which an individual, organization, or movement is covertly controlled or influenced by a 3rd party and the controlled entity’s true purpose is something other than its publicly stated purpose. 

The controlled entity serves a role of mass deception, surveillance and/or political/social manipulation. In most cases the controlled party is portrayed as being in opposition to the interests of the controlling party.

“The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.” 

– Vladimir Lenin


Challenge Yourself, Think!!!

  1. Do we have any controlled opposition in SC?
  2. “Who” do you think it is?
  3. What is the solution?

1) Do we have any controlled opposition in SC? Easy answer … YES, of course we do!!!

Although it may be an effective tactic, we don’t believe in it. We in fact want to teach people about it so you are able to identify this mental manipulation when it is being used against us … and used against you! We must expose it to stop it.

But think about it, there are bad people in this world. Don’t you think they would take the “easy route” and lie, cheat or steal to get what they want? It is easy to undermine causes … and the best way to do that is from within. Too many “strange” things happen to thwart mission for it not to exist.

2) “Who” do you think it is? Folks might not be ready to handle our theories on “who”, but you should consider anyone as potential controlled opposition.

Know too, that sometimes the controlled opposition don’t even know they are the controlled opposition. They are basically good people with good intentions … but misled by others (knowingly or unknowingly) for nefarious purposes.

Consider too, one bad person can mislead a good person, who in turn misleads another good person, and so on, and so on and so on. It gets “deep”. Show a little grace as these people are victims as well.

Our simple litmus tests to identify “controlled opposition”:

  • The number one indicator, people / groups that REFUSE to come to the table to discuss matters openly and honestly. Ask yourself, what do they have to hide that would prevent them from simply discussing matters? We ask people to “talk” all the time … and some flat refuse.
  • A second indicator, pull their SLED report. There are certain personality types that are willing to deceive, and many have criminal backgrounds, either from their youth … and some more recently. We are all about 2nd chances and rehabilitation … but seriously?
  • A third test, “ladder climbers”. These are your politicians and others that want title and position … higher and higher office … and most are willing to do just about anything to get it. They rationalize doing small (in their minds) “bad things” today so that they can attain higher positions so they can do big (in their minds) “good things” tomorrow. They tell themselves they need to compromise on X bad thing today so they can become “Governor” and do Y good thing tomorrow. That is a slippery slope that never works. If they will compromise to get a position … what will they compromise once they have the position and want to keep it. Beware the “ladder climbers”.

3) What’s the solution?

Again, and easy answer – TRUST NO ONE! Citizens need to learn to question everything. Stop blindly trusting folks just because they use to be “good”, or they are a “friend”, or they say the things you want to hear. Check sources and verify everything yourself!!! Know that nothing is as it appears in politics, and it’s often the opposite. As we teach, “Watch what they DO, not what they SAY!”

And always, #FollowTheMoney!!!

“Think for yourself, or others will think for you without thinking about you.” 

– Henry David Thoreau

Controlled Opposition is a challenging concept.  It will require you to re-examine everything you believe.  But, what do you have to lose?  If you are wrong in your beliefs, don’t you want to know it?  Why go through all this work and effort … if the reality is you are in fact aiding your own enemy.

#ThinkForYourself!!!

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