On August 7th, 2023, GCRP’s Executive Committee voted for a resolution that commended and showed appreciation for four County Councilmen (Steve Shaw – District 20, Benton Blount – District 19, Stan Tzouvelekas – District 22, and Rick Bradley – District 26) for voting against the most recent Greenville County tax increases for years 2023 and 2024.
GCRP made it clear how much they appreciated these guys holding the line, “… for following the SC Republican Party Platform, responding to the wishes of their constituents, and fighting for greater transparency and accountability in the Greenville County budgeting process.”
Councilman Steve Shaw started the speeches by trying his best to jokingly get a positive audience response to raising taxes which only produced boos and jeers. After Steve referred to all it took was to just bust one of the five council members who were not going to vote for the tax increase, attention was had by one audience member who called out Joey Russo’s name in response. That is when Steve Shaw made it clear it was not just one person but reminded those in attendance that there are ten Republicans on County Council. He said we should not have even worried about what the two democrats had to say. Shaw made a point in referring to who had the biggest grin when tax increases were voted for, none other than Ennis Fant himself, according to Shaw, who got a dream budget out of these votes.
He made it clear that the council left a lot of “county taxpayer” money on the table. What stood out to him from this experience was the response that he got that it was only $200 or $300 extra a year, which he jokingly added that the last time someone tried to use that pitch on him, they were trying to sell him a timeshare. He concluded with appreciation for all the support from the citizens and the local county party.
After referring to his new experience as County Councilman, Benton Blount shared how his eyes have been opened to a lot of things in Greenville County that hopefully, we can correct. He was shocked to get the impression from other Republicans to set aside the Republican platform so they can deal with whatever they want to deal with. He made it very clear that he represents his constituents and that their thoughts and ideas were very important to him – a lesson he learned from watching his grandfather as a salesman meeting people.
He encouraged the audience that what is needed is for Republicans to come together as much as possible as we can. There are too many battles to fight, we do not need to fight among ourselves.
He reminded those attending that the interest his constituents are having in local government is working. The emails, the calls, and attending the council meetings are having a camaraderie effect. He says to keep it up and hold us accountable. He made it clear that our goal as county councilmen is to come up with alternatives to raising taxes, and that they are already working on what would generate the revenue that is needed without raising any more taxes.
Councilman Stan Tzouvelekas made it clear that all three councilmen that were present support the Republican Platform to which the audience responded with thunderous applause. He made it clear that they do that from their hearts and that it is the right thing to do as Republicans and started listing a list of core platform issues they support.
After referring to the other two councilmen present as patriots, Tzouvelekas concurred with Blount that the encouragements, the calls, the emails, and all the things their constituents are doing are working. He encouraged the audience to keep the pressure on and keep us councilmen accountable and transparent.
Tzouvelekas stressed how they support not just some or part of the Republican platform, but all. He said that is the candidate we need to be supporting. He also made a point that he would like to know that they know Jesus Christ. He said things are going to come up on Greenville County Council that you are going to hear council members say that does not belong on a council level, such as life. He said anytime I can save a life on any council level, I am going to be there.
Tzouvelekas expressed his desire for council meetings to be transparent and that bills are being stuck in committees. He supports voice and video recordings of all council meetings and supports putting them on social media for public access to support accountability.
GCRP Chairwoman Yvonne Julian appreciated the councilmen doing their part but made it clear that she and the local party is going to do their part by getting out and knocking on community doors to hold all elected Republican officials to the party platform.
Later in the meeting, 1st Vice Chairman Joe Dill, a former County Councilman himself, read the motion to commend and show the local party’s appreciation for all four Republican County Councilmen who voted against raising taxes. Rick Bradley was the only of the four who could not be present due to a death in the family.
Dill made it clear to the audience that these four will be under attack and he made clear that the attacks have already begun with false information being spread about the four. Chairman Julian made it clear that it was their job to protect these council members and to get like-minded candidates elected to help. She also expressed her thanks to 1st Vice Chairman Dill for coming up with this resolution.
After presenting and reading the resolution, Dill officially made the motion to adopt the resolution as is, in which the Executive body voted in favor without any opposition to the resolution.
After the resolution was passed, each council member was presented the resolution of commendation and appreciation rolled up and tied with a red ribbon and handed to them as a thank you for their vote.
The content of the resolution reads as follows:
RESOLUTION OF COMMENDATION AND APPRECIATION TO GREENVILLE COUNTY COUNCILMEN FOR FOLLOWING THE SOUTH CAROLINA REPUBLICAN PARTY PLATFORM, RESPONDING TO THE WISHES OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS AND FIGHTING FOR GREATER TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE GREENVILLE COUNTY BUDGETING PROCESS
Whereas, Benton Blount (District 19), Rick Bradley (District 26), Steve Shaw (District 20), and Stan Tzouvelekas (District 22) were elected as Republicans to represent the voters in their districts; and
Whereas, Low Taxes are a fundamental principle of the Republican Party Platform and on the issue of Tax Policy our platform states "We are the party of opportunity and support a tax policy designed to help the economy grow, not stunt the taxpayer or punish achievement”; and
Whereas, voters expect elected officials to take into account nationwide economic conditions that will impact their constituents and we are living with high inflation and the highest interest rates in over 20 years; and
Whereas, the aforementioned Councilmen voted against the millage increases in the Greenville County 2024 and 2025 budgets which, along with nationwide inflation and the Greenville County Schools tax hike, will further diminish taxpayer's wealth and spending ability." taxpayers, and
Whereas, Councilmen Benton Blount (District 19), Rick Bradley (District 26), Steve Shaw (District
20), and Stan Tzouvelekas (District 22) all proposed amendments and process changes that took into consideration the needs of all stakeholders, not just Democrat special interest groups and county employees, and would have resulted in a true compromise; and
Whereas, Councilman Tzouvelekas was told by County Administrators that a 5 mill increase would have avoided any cuts to County Staff;
Therefore, the Executive Committee of the Greenville County Republican Party issues this Resolution of Commendation and Appreciation to the following County Councilmen
Benton Blount (District 19)
Rick Bradley (District 26)
Steve Shaw District 20)
Stan Tzouvelekas (District 22)
On this 7th day of August, 2023