BRIEF: Your view on taxes might be based on how things are framed

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Potholes riddle an Orangeburg County highway. Photo by Andy Brack.

Staff reports  |  If you heard that a particular proposal raised taxes a “whopping 60 percent,” you might think that wasn’t so great.

But what if you were told a tax hike would cost the average resident just $5 per month?  Would that seem a big deal, or something to shrug off?

Now let’s take these questions to another level:  What if both statements were talking about the very same issue?

That’s what is happening with the just-passed S.C. House proposal to raise the gas tax by 10 cents per gallon.  The average person would pay about $5 more per month, proponents say.  But one opponent blasts it as a way to raise taxes 60 percent – from 16.75 cents per gallon to 26.75 cents per gallon.

Bottom line:  It’s all about perspective.  It’s not that hard to figure out a way to make numbers work for whatever political position you’re pushing.  Be careful before getting upset.

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