Greenville GOP Resolution to Censure Republican Council Members Who Voted for Tax Increases Passes 1st Vote
At an August 7th, 2023 general business meeting, the Greenville County Republican Party Executive Committeemen got to formally respond to six Republican County Council members who voted for the most recent Greenville County tax increases.
Six out of the ten Republicans that sit on Greenville County Council who voted to raise county taxes were County Council Chairman Daniel Tripp (District 28), Vice Chair Elizabeth Seman (District 24), Joey Russo (District 17), Michael Barnes (District 18), Chris Harrison (District 21), Butch Kirven (District 27). The four that did not were Steve Shaw (District 20), Benton Blount (District 19), Stan Tzouvelekas (District 22), and Rick Bradley (District 26). And of course, the two Democrats voted for the tax increases.
During this business meeting, former SC Governor Republican candidate and current chairman of the GCRP Legislative Committee, Harrison Musselwhite was asked by Chairwoman Yvonne Julian (who said she was excited to get to this portion of the meeting) to present a censure resolution towards the six Republican council members. As a start, Musselwhite clearly stated in his enthusiastic booming voice, “We will censure the covenant breakers.” He says, as Republicans, they have broken covenant with the South Carolina Republican Platform which promotes lower taxes.
Musselwhite says that this is not just a normal censure. He says with this censure, once it passes, they will be distributing door hangers. He said at the beginning of the door hanger's message, they will start out with Chairman Dan Tripp who has broken the SC GOP Platform and will go right down the list, “... Elizabeth Seman, Butch Kirven, Michael Barns, Chris Harrison and don’t forget sweet Joey Russo.” The large crowd enthusiastically responded.
He says when they put out the door hangers, they will try to work with each precinct with the hopes that each precinct will help get these door hangers out to the public voters.
Right before he read the resolution as a motion to be voted on at 1st reading as required by GCRP Rules for censuring elected officials, he asked everyone to come up as he mentioned their Councilman's name as support against their Councilman while reading the censure resolution, to which a full crowd surrounded Musselwhite. Others who were not in these particular district precincts said they wanted to join the others even though their particular Councilman voted against the tax increase. They wanted to let the other district precincts know they support their efforts and would help.
The first vote of this censure resolution passed unanimously and there are plans to take it up at the next general business meeting in October of this year or even a special called meeting to officially pass it.
The current version of the Resolution to Censure states as follows:
GREENVILLE COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY RESOLUTION OF CENSURE FOR COUNTY COUNCILMEN BUTCH KIRVEN, JOEY RUSSO, MICHAEL BARNES, ELIZABETH SEMAN, DANIEL TRIPP AND CHRIS HARRISON
Whereas: we call on every level of government to exhibit sound fiscal management, and live within its means, providing effective and efficient government with minimum taxation; and
Whereas: 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: Greenville County taxpayers were already being stunted by Bidenomics and economic uncertainty; and
Whereas: the above-mentioned council members were elected as Republicans to implement fiscal responsibility which is in article V of the South Carolina GOP Platform; and
Whereas: the above-mentioned council members voted for a $785 million budget for tax years 2023-2024 & with an increase in the millage rate for the county by seven; and
Whereas: the above-mentioned council members broke their pledge to uphold the South Carolina GOP platform by needlessly raising taxes on the people of Greenville County on June 23, 2023;
Therefore: The Executive Committee of the Greenville County Republican Party hereby issues this resolution of censure regarding the tax increase votes of
County Council Chairman Daniel Tripp (District 28), Vice Chair Elizabeth Seman (District 24), Joey Russo (District 17), Michael Barnes (District 18), Chris Harrison (District 21), Butch Kirven (District 27)
On this 7th day of August, 2023