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Ballotpedia Jeff CilaIssues, Priorities, and Concerns

Jeff believes in the concept of a "citizen legislator", acting as this district's advocate to faithfully  represent all our concerns at the state level. You are encouraged to email Jeff regarding issues that are a concern to you and share your views, observations, frustrations, and desires.  Following redistricting, its time to speak out for change in District 95. We encourage your voice to make that happen and support to make that happen. Thank you for your consideration and support.

[Email Jeff Cila]

"Bad officials are the ones elected by good citizens who do not vote."  George Jean Nathan

Reforms to Taxation in South Carolina

Our population is growing at a rate of almost 500,000 people every 10 years. That should not automatically mean higher taxes for services from our government. Instead revenue should reflect a positive impact of having more consumers and tax payers contributing. As we reopen our economy and employment increases, we'll have more people again paying payroll, income, social security, and Medicare taxes. This positive impact on our economy should NOT mean government has to spend more. This expanded "economy of scale" should allow for some tax reductions or offsets. As we grow, infrastructure projects should not just fix an existing problem, but also build in excess capacity to accommodate additional usage at today's pricing. Depending on your livelihood, educational needs, professional demands, and recreational pursuits, SC taxation should not have a continuing negative impact year after year on your daily life. In fiscal year 2019, the state had a $2,000,000,000 (billion) revenue surplus as a function of economic growth. That's real money that left our pockets as taxpayers to sit in the state treasury. How much more good could that money have done if invested or spent on your family and in your local community. Why does government seem to look at its citizens as the sole target to skim financial resources from to fund various entity's spending agendas? Which taxes and licensing fees do you feel are apparently too high, not being used as intended, or not entirely necessary? One of my goals is to work to reduce and phase out personal property tax on vehicles and narrow the list and rate on "maximum tax items", which are regressive sources of tax revenue. These taxes negatively affect individual reinvestment in newer safer transportation, as well as driving up costs in our trucking, livestock, recreational, transportation, and aeronautical retail industries. Vehicle property taxes are regressive based on "value",  income, and tax rate disparities. The rate on maximum tax items is an admission these taxes are too high. Together these tax schemes put our state at a comparative disadvantage by artificially increasing the total cost of ownership. The SC Department of Revenue groups taxes and licensing for Individuals and Businesses into 12 categories that assign tax rates or fees on 62 separate areas of earnings, revenue, commerce, or property; . The impact to us as taxpayers is that 5 of 12 categories are imposed on Individuals and 11 of 12 categories are imposed on Businesses, (an unfair crossover in tax burden falls on sole proprietors and small businesses). A key tenant that I and Republicans generally agree on is that business taxes and fees will ultimately be passed on to the consumers of goods and services. So individuals end up sharing the Business tax/fee burdens as well as their own Individual tax burden. This negative cost of living impact on excessive taxation is not given much consideration of by legislature. What taxes and spending are truly essential to provide equitable benefit to communities, foster increased commerce, and infrastructure on pace with growth? Motor fuels tax is increasing 2 cents each year until 2022, in July 2020 it went up to 24 cents a gallon...what are we all getting for this increase? This is just one of the 62 taxes and fees impacting our daily life. Visit to review and comment on issues important to you. Your feedback is much appreciated to better represent you going forward. Vote for a real change in representation on November 8th.


Political Campaigns Too Influenced by Out of State Money

Jeff Cila believes the rules need to change regarding campaign financing. "If you don't live here, you should not be allowed to give to campaigns here..."

If you are unhappy with District 66 & 97's past representation, follow the support money. Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter's campaign finances come mostly from out of state sources. Over her tenure, over $540,000 to run for re-election, often unopposed. Who has really been benefiting from her representation?
  - Sites like "The Voters Self Defense System" let you search for a candidate and view past and current positions and campaign finance data.


Economic Expansion - Global Logistics Triangle is at the Heart of Our District

Orangeburg County was eager to get back to work with agri-business leading the way. District 95 especially St. George, Bowman, Reeseville, Branchville, Rowesville, Providence, Holly Hill, and Santee are well placed as prime areas for investment to leverage the Global Logistics Triangle (GLT) Interstate I-95, I-26, and Hwy 301 are strategic links for routing commerce throughout the southeastern states and into the north. District 66 provides the GLT with the linking roads of Highways 15, 78, 21, 601, and 176 that enhance the prospect for businesses to grow up in and around our existing communities. Promoting our communities and transport linkages can bring new and expanded services and an easing on our current tax burdens. I'm committed to work for you with our local leaders to identify and attract the right investment and business opportunities. We should encourage businesses to move to our district, bank in our district, and those business leaders to be residents in our district. Our schools will also benefit from new business partnerships. Our new schools, OCSD leadership, and nearby affordable vocational training in Orangeburg and Manning are attractive factors to strengthen and sustain our skilled work force. District 95 has an attractive rural lifestyle, great outdoor recreation, and can easily interconnect commerce from the ports of Charleston and Savannah onward to all parts of the country. Development is happening along transport corridors from Walterboro to Manning and Charleston to Columbia. This district can attract new manufacturing , retail, and with our vast open space we may even play a key role in expanding freight and commuter rail to connect among Charleston, Columbia, and Atlanta. This type of growth can happen in District 95 bringing more employment, infrastructure upgrades, more technology (broadband, broadcast TV, radio), school improvements/funding, and increased health services to keep pace here as SC grows. What would you like to see happen with respect to public planning for smart economic growth in District 95?


Improving Educational and Scholastic Achievement in District 95 is Vital. The state constitution's goal of providing our students a "minimally adequate education" is no longer acceptable...

In June of 2020 is a pivotal month for the direction and future of public education throughout a significant part of District 95 ushering in the new Orangeburg County School District (OCSD). It took several counties and the state from 1993 - 2017 to incrementally address the concerns of Abbeville et al vs the State of South Carolina. Some school funding changes have come, district consolidation phased out direct community control of education, and still our students ability to read and understand math at grade level remains below 40% in much of District 95 public schools through 2020. Is it unfair to discern that local leaders and representatives were not up to the task of implementing education reform? Providing an equitable education for all our young people has been argued for the past 27 years in our communities, legislature, and courts. In July, OCSD Trustees selected a new Superintendent, Dr. Shawn Foster, Aiken County Chief Operations Officer and Chief of Student Services. I have great confidence in Dr. Foster vision but fiscal support and management is going to be paramount. My hope and desire for our district is that together we can make available an education that is more than just a "minimally adequate education" codified in our State Constitution. All persons have the potential to be exceptional in the talent God bestows on each of us. It is my belief by providing, inspiring, and requiring a high level of scholarship, (not just minimal) will bring about a better quality of life for us all. Dr. Shawn Foster provided a perspective on education he got from his Mother, " Be good, work hard, and make good decisions".  I look forward assisting in him to advance scholastic achievement under his stewardship as OCSD Superintendent and teamwork with the talents and skills available among the citizens of Dorchestor county.

Is There A Future for Commuter Rail Travel in SC?

Spent some time looking over the historic rail depots that mark many of our smaller towns with a robust story to tell of commerce and prosperity; Holly Hill, Orangeburg, Vance, and the Branchville Museum & Railroad Junction to name a few. These commuter lines connected towns to one another and links like Charleston to Hamburg (North Augusta), established between 1829-1833. The line provided a faster mode to get crops and products to and from the port in Savannah. Oh, to re-establish passenger commuter rail as a transportation option for people that connects our towns to state and regional rail links. Would you make use of commuter rail service for trips to Charleston, Aiken, Augusta, Columbia, Greenville, or Spartanburg if interstate was not our only option. Could even be a safer option for seniors having the possibility of connecting to regional links in NC, GA, or FL. 

Addressing Our Roadside Litter Problem

The prevalence of random items, food containers, beverage bottles & cans, bags of trash that fell from vehicles, and illegal dumping seems to never get better. I feel for road and mover damages the equipment and sadly may make more pieces of litter in the process of trying to do their jobs. After a morning walk on Pinewood Drive, a rural farming dirt road near Santee State Park only to find a deep ditch had become a site for dumping. If a person is hauling trash to dump - why can't they get it to a trash collection station. There are two within a few miles from here. What could we do different to cleanup our roadways? Having been raised in a rural environment, home rubbish burning permits were a staple.  Perhaps a big portion of our problem is that everything has to be hauled to central collection places, mostly by individual households. In many communities the roads closest to these sites are the most unsightly. I believe there is a more rational approach to lessen the burden on the individual to hauling household rubbish to collection sites.  Contained rural household burning may even prove beneficial; enhance recycling by limiting the volume of non-toxic rubbish that can be safely/responsibly burned by individuals residing outside of city limits.  We need to explore alternatives because our current hauling of household trash across our counties growing by 500,000 every 10 years and pleas for less litter are not working...


- Tax reform to reduce the burden on Individuals and licensing fees on Businesses.

- Attracting new businesses and urban development in our historic towns and communities.

- Increasing Urgent Care availability, Rural Health access, and expand Public Health Services.


- Vehicle Property Tax reduction as part of a plan to phase out this regressive tax entirely. Only 7 states still rely on this source of tax revenue.

- Expand science, technology, and vocational education curriculums across school districts.

- Maintenance and upkeep for State Park and District Historic Site access, road improvements, trail maintenance, and visitor services enhancements.  Reassess the current usage fee schedules which are too high and discourage regular use by all citizens. The current annual and day use actually has a negative effect on revenue generation to sustain and expand outdoor recreation.

- Public/Private investment in light rail/commuter trains to return passenger rail services among our rural communities and metropolitan cities. This affords greater access and ease of travel for many and a better/necessary option for reducing the pressure on our interstate system. While South Carolina is still small in population we have the time and space to put in a passenger rail system that serves the state and can connect us to a larger nationwide service model.

Items for further discussion

- Waste Management for Businesses, Local Trash Removal/Pickup, Litter Control

- Reduce or eliminate taxation for out of state online purchase reporting as a part of State Tax filing. 

- Business and community partnerships to provide expanded city services and improvements through grants and investment.

- Expansion of rehabilitation services for veterans, mental health, occupational health, and residential additions treatment services.e

-  Options for creating more tax relief for the citizens of District 66; possibly tax credits for non-commercial improvements to homes and property.

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Paid for by the committee to elect Jeff Cila (Republican) SC State Representative District 95.
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