Conservatives Of The Upstate meets the 2nd Thursday of each month @ 6:30PM.

Blue Ridge Bible Church
769 Belle Shoals Rd
Pickens SC 29671


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Saturday, November 18, 2017

For your enrichment & understanding...

The S.C. Policy Council has put together a list of ideals and points that are crucial to understanding where South Carolinians need to be focused in 2018 ...

From the article:

Property rights
In South Carolina private property can be seized by a practice known as “eminent domain.” State law allows government to take private land for “public use”: for example, to build a road or government building. But the state constitution doesn’t define “public use,” which means government could ostensibly take land for almost any reason at all. Further, a state constitutional provision permits seizure under eminent domain if the property is “blighted” – in which case the land could be applied to private use. The General Assembly introduced legislation in both 2015 and 2016 that would have given eminent domain powers to a private company – an unprecedented step with enormous potential for abuse.
The past several years have seen an increasing number of similarly framed bills empowering the state to seize the property of private citizens in the name of rehabilitating run-down buildings. In these bills, typically, the owner of the property would be billed for the repairs or be forced to sell it. Absent in this legislation is any assumption that the owner of property has a right to it. The governor vetoed one such bill that passed in the 2017 session, although the General Assembly may override that veto when they reconvene in January.
Many other topics are covered ...

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

2018 Pickens County Legislative Delegation Meeting

The date, time, and location has been set for the 2018 Annual Pickens County Legislative Delegation 

Public Meeting.

TIME:  5:30 P.M


Pickens County Performing Arts Center (Previously known as the Liberty Civic Center)
314 W. Main Street
Liberty, SC 29657

 If you would like to be put on the agenda to speak, please contact me. Please limit your comments to 3 minutes.

The delegation consists of Pickens County Senators .. Rex Rice & Thomas Alexander, and Representatives ... Neal Collins, Gary Clary, Davey Hiott, and Joshua Putnam

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Understanding Tax Reform ...

3rd District Representative Jeff Duncan shares ...

I have been getting a lot of calls, messages, emails, and notes asking about specifics on the tax reform bill. I thought it might be helpful to answer a few of the frequently asked questions I have been getting: 

Q: Is this closing loopholes?
A: Yes. This legislation is closing dozens of complex loopholes for special interests. 

Q: What’s happening with the mortgage interest deduction?
A: If you currently hold a mortgage, your deduction will not be changed.  Starting next year, under this legislation, your deduction on any new mortgage will be capped to the interest that applies to the first $500,000 of your mortgage debt. In 2016, the average amount of mortgage debt was $156,150 in South Carolina. 

Q: What’s happening with the state and local tax deduction?
A: Low-tax areas like ours subsidize high-tax areas like New York, Boston, Washington DC, and San Francisco. Under this legislation, we are cutting rates across the board and eliminating that deduction – which will stop South Carolina from subsidizing Manhattan’s high taxes. Check out this map to see a county-by-county breakdown: 

Q: Is this tax reform retroactive?  Will it sunset like the Bush tax cuts did, setting up some future cliff?
A: No. This is permanent reform that would take effect with the 2018 Tax Year.

Q: Does this tax reform end football tax subsidies?
A: Yes. This bill stops NFL teams from getting tax free bonds to build stadiums.

Q: What about charitable contributions?
A: There are some technical changes on making sure that cash donations get receipts but the deduction will stand.  We believe it’s more important that private and non-profit institutions help people than having the federal government do it. Regular people know how to help other people far more effectively than bureaucrats do.

Q: What about education?
A: This reform keeps and consolidates education tax credits, expanding 529s to cover elementary and secondary education, and allowing 529s to be created for as-yet-unborn children. It also allows credits for tuition which will save college parents thousands every year.

Q: Why do away with exemptions? 
A: To simplify the system. To make up for this, the standard deduction is being doubled and indexed to inflation, the lowest bracket (of 12%) is being expanded to the first $90,000 of income, and the child tax credit is increased to $1,600. For most families, that’s going to result in an overall savings of around $1,280/year.

Q: Doesn’t cutting the corporate rate only help the rich?
A: Not at all. Most economists agree that the cut to the corporate rate will result in higher wages for American workers, an average raise of $3,000/year. They also estimate that the corporate reforms will add 1 million American jobs over the next few years. That amounts to an overall increase of around 5% to GDP.

Q: What happens to Social Security?
A: This bill doesn’t impact Social Security, benefit recipients, or payroll taxes. 

Q: What about Obamacare taxes?
A: I would love to get rid of those, in this bill or any other.  The decision (for now) seems to be to avoid complicating this bill with the Obamacare tax issues, but handling those in a health care specific bill. I’ve asked our Leadership to specifically kill the medical device tax, the health insurance tax, and the net investment tax, but so far that’s not being included in this discussion.

Q: Why can’t you go to just a Flat Tax/Fair Tax approach?
A: I am a cosponsor of H.R. 25, the Fair Tax Act of 2017, and I am a supporter of both Fair Tax and Flat Tax approaches. However, there weren’t enough cosponsors on H.R. 25 for it to be part of the discussion. The more deductions we can eliminate, the better off we will be to ensure a fairer and flatter system for all Americans.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

What part do you disagree with?

A message from Jeff Duncan, (Republican Representative SC) ...

It is interesting to read the comments from the Trump haters, the Liberals and the just anti-Trump crowd of both Republicans and Democrats in response to my recent FB post and subsequent newspaper articles.

Donald J. Trump isn't a politician. That is what the American voters liked about him.  Yes, he said some things during his days as a Democrat that you would not want your President, brother, husband, son or best friend to utter.  Yes, he seems to over-react to things that are said about him, usually on Twitter, especially when those attacks come from people like Senator Jeff Flake within our own party.

But America..........this nation has problems. And the American voters looked to a non-traditional, successful businessman to help right the ship.  The same voters had given us the US House, then the US Senate - without seeing the expected results versus the big government, less liberty policies of President Barack Obama.

Donald J. Trump, now the 45th President of the United States, ran on a simple Make America Great Again agenda #MAGA.

The American people didn't embrace someone they hoped would be a Nobel Peace Prize winning, smooth talking, appeasement-minded apologist of the historical American greatness.  We already had that and are $20 Trillion in debt with big government programs driving the spending train in DC.

The American people elected President Trump, knowing full-well his non-traditional methods and actions.  It is time for the anti-Trump Republicans to get over it and embrace, not the POTUS, but the AGENDA that the American people support and voted for:

-Repeal Obamacare and get government out of the relationship between us and our doctors.  Repeal.

-National Security begins, for a sovereign nation, with border security and enforcement of the law. Time to secure the weak under-belly of our nation - our southern border.

-National Defense.  Sequestration continues to hurt our defense readiness and capability.  We seem to be able to find cuts to the Constitutional role of defense but never can find cuts to the social programs that, being on auto-pilot, are continuing to cause deficits and debt.  It is time to return to the Superpower that the world needs America to be!

-Tax Reform.  Americans, after 31 years, deserve to keep more of their paychecks at the end of the month, businesses deserve to keep more of the profits they create - for reinvestment, debt reduction or dividends to the investors who took the risk by believing in them. The US Tax Code is 73,954 pages.  The US Constitution (4,543 words) is four pages.

-Repatriation of overseas earnings by American Corporations at a fair tax rate.  Possibly more than a Trillion dollars sits offshore in ghe accounts of American businesses who haven't brought those earnings back due to the oppressive confiscatory tax rates which would apply.  A fair tax rate creates a wind-fall in tax revenue for government while also creating a huge cash infusion into the American economy!  Economic activity and job growth!

-A 21st Century infrastructure plan to address a 21st Century economy.  Keep pork-barrel spending out of it and spend money where needed to support this future economic growth.  It is a spending bill, but would pay for itself with a growing, robust economy.

These are the highlights of a #MAGA agenda which I support.  I wonder what part of this Agenda Senators Flake, Corker, Collins, McCain - and Republican colleagues in the House - disagree with?

Just think what we could accomplish for America if we truly supported this #MAGA agenda, regardless of personal feelings about the guy occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Ave!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The voters in SC have entrusted their school board elected members with our country's most precious assets...children and their futures.

If more board members did their homework and learned the many well-documented facts concerning all the problems associated with the US Dept of Education mandates, they would be speaking out to the State Board of Education and taking a stand against further implementation of these faulty standards and mandates imposed on children. They should be lobbying for cutting the federal monies associated with these overreaching mandates. This is what true leaders do. 

The present Every Student Succeeds Actmandates, and the loosening of the protections for students in FERPA, by our USDE need to end in order for true local control to take place and a restoration of parents' rights to direct their child's education.

School board members are in a unique position to speak out against these issues. They should be the ones attempting to stop Federal overreach into the states' rights to oversee education. They should be the parents' advocates to ensure quality educational standards are in place and not child abusive ones. They should be fighting data mining and strengthening of FERPAThey should be mailing the state boards of education and state legislators with their objections. I have heard many state board and legislators say:

"We have not heard any complaints about ESSA or FERPA or US Dept of Ed mandates from local district school boards, we just hear from grassroots activists.”

There are too many nationally renowned organizations for me to name who are opposed to the direction public school education has taken and agree the US Dept of Education needs to be dismantled and shut down. 

Present legislation H.R 899 actually seeks to accomplish ending the US Dept of Ed. 

School board members should be pushing for H.R. 899 passage.

How many of your local school board members have spoken out about this issue? 
If they haven't then YOU need to fire them the next election cycle.

Local School Board Members have the power to make a huge difference and take a stand for our local schools!

REAL leaders would. 

REAL leaders who have concern for local control of education would. 

REAL leaders who love children and have their best interest at heart would.

REAL leaders who believe parents have the right to direct their child's education would.

Please contact your elected School Board members and ask them to step up to the plate and speak out.

Encourage them to join our efforts at:

Johnnelle Raines 
Pickens SC

Movement to end Fed Ed ...


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Today, while touring the Chickamauga Battlefield on a field trip with my daughter I had an epiphany. We, you, me - are immensely powerful.

Think about this ...

While there are many documents written throughout history, I’d like to focus on a few ...

The Declaration Of Independence told King George that men were created equal and could no longer be in servitude to his throne.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The Constitution clarified these unalienable rights.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The 13-15 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution insured that the constitution applied to all men. The 19th amendment insured that women had the same rights as men.

While wars and hard protests took place because of these actions - it was the written word that was the ultimate weapon to decide the outcome.

Likewise, many in wars past wrote journals and letters to loved ones. None wrote for posterity - yet - we have their words - how hell awful war is - how heart melting their desire for war to end - and how they were just like you and me. What a powerful tool! 

We also have the most powerful written word of all - The Bible.

II Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness

John 1:1

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Ephesians 6:11

Put on the full armor of God so that you may stand against the schemes of the devil.

God showed us that our words - if inspired by faith - led by the Holy Spirit - can be the most powerful weapon, and can inspire others to stand in righteousness. With words, if true and descriptive , even if harsh or critical - you’ve committed no crime, you’ve killed no one, you’ve made no one bleed. You have however, inspired change - on a mass and unlimited - everlasting scale.

I thank the Lord often for giving me the medium for people to read and hear the words I’ve written - for giving me a weapon more powerful than a nuclear weapon should I need it.

Rus Smith