Bauer was in Union Friday to present Union County High School Principal Joseph W. Walker and Gene Gregory, owner of Gene’s Fine Foods, with the Palmetto Patriot award. The award is the highest presented by the lieutenant governor’s office and honors those outstanding individuals whose efforts have enhanced the lives of their fellow citizens.
While his visit was an apolitical one, Bauer’s political future wasn’t far from the minds of supporters. Gregory served a cake with icing that called Bauer the next governor of South Carolina.
Bauer said that while he plans to run for governor, he won’t formally announce until much closer to the 2010 election.
“I got elected to be lieutenant governor and I’m doing my current job,” he said. “As we get close to the election there will be an announcement at the appropriate time.”
Bauer said he feels that announcing too early would unnecessarily politicize even the most apolitical of his activities.
“It limits what I can do in my capacity as lieutenant governor,” he said. “Whether I’m doing ‘Samaritan’s Feet’ or the ‘Brakes’ program or speaking in church, it all becomes political if I’ve announced. I just can do more good for people if I stay in my current capacity instead of announcing as a candidate.”
S.C. AttorneyGeneral Henry McMaster offically announced his candidacy for governor on Monday, joining fellow Republicans U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, state Sen. Larry Grooms of Berkeley County, and state Rep. Nikki Haley of Lexington.
If he is elected governor, Bauer said, he would work closely with the lieutenant governor to promote economic development.
“I’m meeting with all the candidates for lieutenant governor so that if I’m elected governor we will have a great working relationship,” he said. “The governor and the lieutenant governor should work together. If I’m governor, I’m going to put the lieutenant governor on the road to encourage investment in South Carolina.”
Bauer has traveled around the world leading delegations on economic development trips. In the United Arab Emirates he said he saw yet more proof of how to effectively promote economic development.
“The UAE wanted to create a world-class port where one had not existed before,” he said. “They created a tax-free zone eliminating corporate taxes and the result is one of the world’s leading ports.”
Another example South Carolina can learn is the state of Delaware, Bauer said. Delaware’s tax system makes it very attractive for businesses to incorporate themselves there while conducting operations in other states.
“You want to have as many businesses putting money into South Carolina without taking out the resources,” he said. “The more people you have paying taxes the less you have to tax everyone.”
Bauer said he wants to change South Carolina tax laws, particularly its “point of sale” law that he says hinders economic development. He said he will work to change the law regardless of whether he’s elected governor or returns to private life after 2010.