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ISSUE 8.02
Jan. 09, 2009

RECENT ISSUES:
12/04 | 11/27 | 11/20 | 11/13

Index

News :
A time of (financial) cholera
Legislative Agenda :
Back to work
Radar Screen :
Silvery, hazy lining
Palmetto Politics :
Sanford's budget to be released
Commentary :
Palmetto Priorities highlight state objectives
Spotlight :
ACLU of South Carolina
My Turn :
SC in dire need of leadership
Feedback :
1/5: Backs Sanford, apology column is tripe
Scorecard :
Ups and downs of the week
Stegelin :
Budget cuts
Number of the Week :
$209,000,000
Megaphone :
Thrust, thrust, parry, thrust, parry
In our blog :
List, Tool, more
Tally Sheet :
Lots of bills

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NUMBER OF THE WEEK

$209,000,000

RESTORE:  $209,000,000.   That’s how much state Superintendent of Education Jim Rex asked a House subcommittee this week to restore to the state’s K-12 education budget. Lawmakers have cut the Department of Education’s 2008-09 budget by more than $300 million after initially holding the agency harmless in the face of tax revenue shortfalls.  More: The Post and Courier.

MEGAPHONE

Thrust, thrust, parry, thrust, parry

"I understand we have to cut, cut, cut, but that is not the long-term solution."

-- State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex on his request for $209 million to be returned to the state’s K-12 budget.  More:  The Post and Courier

* * *

"These lists tend to multiply people's perception that there's free money out there. We are spending 95 cents to get a nickel. This is a ridiculously inefficient way of funding a local park."

-- Gov. Mark Sanford, criticizing a proposed stimulus plan in which the federal government would direct funding for municipal projects around the country.  More:  Post and Courier

* * *

"Our governor leads a state with the third highest unemployment rate in the United States, and his solution comes straight from Herbert Hoover's playbook."

-- Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr., responding this week in The Post and Courier to Gov. Mark Sanford's criticism of a proposed federal bailout package that would benefit cities. Riley went on to say that Sanford's "solution" would be to "write everyone a check and see what happens."

* * *

“We’ve got the weakest executive system in the nation, and what the governor does, every opportunity he has, is highlight the absurdity of that … It’s really the only way in South Carolina that a governor can lead, and that’s to seize the bully pulpit.”

-- Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort), who is heading into his first session as a lawmaker after serving as Gov. Mark Sanford’s chief of staff, on the continuing need to restructure state government.  More:  Southern Political Report.
 

* * *

"It’s always as though it’s somebody else’s fault. His failures are of his own making. ... Gov. Sanford has some great ideas, but his execution is the worst that I have seen of a governor.”

-- Sen. Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston), President Pro Tempore of the Senate, responding to Gov. Mark Sanford blaming the lack of change in Columbia on the power of the "good old boy" network, and  legislators who stand to personally gain from the status quo.  More:  The State.

IN OUR BLOG

List, Tool, more

The list. Last week, Gov. Mark Sanford blamed the power of the state’s “good old boy network” for his legislative failures, saying there were legislators getting in the way of change because they stood to profit personally. A. Citizen over at FITS News went where the governor wouldn’t last week by naming names in a fairly long list:

“The Bible says you can’t serve two masters. Sadly, far too many of our elected officials appear to be doing just that.”
 
Tool. Seeding Spartanburg has a simple message: “Please Andre Bauer and Henry McMaster. Stop using God as a TOOL.”
 
Diversity. Earl Capps blogged this week that the state GOP isn’t serious about wooing black voters: “In spite of calling their party ‘pro-business,’ GOP leaders fail to apply time-proven business logic in reaching out to black voters. Any business that wants to grow its market share must reach out aggressively and bring buyers to their stores, and then prove their products can meet the needs and expectations of customers. … it’s something the tone-deaf GOP leadership has proven themselves unable, or unwilling, to do.”

TALLY SHEET

Lots of bills

Legislators have prefiled some 440 bills this month. You can look at our simplified summaries or the more bureaucratic legislative summaries:

PALMETTO PRIORITIES

Palmetto Priorities Statehouse Report encourages state leaders to develop and implement Palmetto Priorities involving several issues to make the state better a better place. Click the link to learn more about our suggestions for bipartisan policy objectives.

Here is a summary of our Palmetto Priorities:

CORRECTIONS: Reduce the prison population by 25 percent by 2020.

EDUCATION: Cut the state's dropout rate in half by 2020.

ELECTIONS: Increase voter registration to 75 percent by 2015.

ENVIRONMENT: Adopt a state energy policy that requires energy producers to generate 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

ETHICS: Overhaul state ethics laws.

HEALTH CARE: Ensure affordable and accessible health care.

JOBS: Develop a Cabinet-level post to add, retain 10,000 small business jobs per year.

POLITICS: Have a vigorous two- or multi-party political system of governance.

ROADS: Strengthen all bridges and upgrade state roads by 2015.

SAFETY: Cut the state's violent crime rate by one-third by 2016.

TAX REFORM: Remove outdated special interest sales tax exemptions as part of an overall reform of the state's tax structure to be completed by 2014.

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News

A time of (financial) cholera

What will the General Assembly do without more money?

By Bill Davis, senior editor

JAN. 9, 2009 -- It has been said that romance without finance is a nuisance. So what will legislators do this year, when the state budget has been wracked by a series of mid-year cuts?

Bill DavisWith a drop in the current year budget of about a billion dollars to $5.9 billion, state lawmakers now are facing decisions on what are necessary state programs and the funding levels for those programs. But despite the financial troubles, many legislators still see other issues the General Assembly needs to deal with throughout the session.
           
But make no mistake about it: the fiscal crisis will continue to impact budget writing for next year’s budget, which they’re already working on.
           
Rep. Dan Cooper (R-Piedmont), as chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee in the House, is one of the most powerful legislators when it comes to setting the 2009 legislative agenda.  That’s especially true since all legislation that requires new taxes must begin in the House.
           
According to Cooper, three issues will dominate what’s left of the year’s agenda not already ruled by budget cuts:
  • One will be addressing the state’s unemployment trust fund, which ran out of money to pay out-of-work residents until Gov. Mark Sanford signed-off on an eleventh-hour loan.

  • The second issue will be the battle over whether to increase the state’s 7 cents per-pack cigarette tax. Last year, the General Assembly initially passed a 50-cent increase, but was not able to overcome a gubernatorial veto. Some in the legislature are already calling for the amount to be raised as high as $1 and beyond to fund state health care programs and other state agencies hurt by budget cuts.           
  • And third, Cooper said increasing the state’s reserve funds will be a priority. The issue began to gain steam last year when debate started in both the House and Senate about several new “rainy day” fund programs.        
Notice that all of Cooper’s observations involved money. It was not because of his job as Ways and Means chair: everybody seemed to agree with him, including various observers.
           
It’s just going to be about money
 
Bill Moore, one of the state’s preeminent political scientists and a professor at the College of Charleston, said he expected that the focus in 2009 will “obviously … be the budget: what gets cut and by how much and I suspect most of the news out of Columbia and the focus of the General Assembly will be on financing government.”
           
Moore said the tax cuts that Gov. Mark Sanford espoused over the last few months will likely fall on deaf ears. He also said that he doubted the legislature “will focus much on social issues - pocketbook issues are what concerns the voters in 2009. In short, I see little positive news coming out of Columbia this year.”
           
Policy issues facing the state, like health care, education, employment, energy and environment, are, according to Moore, “important issues in the state; however, with such a bleak financial projection, I don't see where the resources will come from to finance policies in these areas.”
           
The view was equally grim from Ashley Woodiwiss’ perch at Erskine College, where he teaches political science.
           
“I’m inclined toward the view that things will have to get worse before they get better,” said Woodiwiss, who added the state’s political culture during Sanford’s tenure “has been so deeply libertarian … that not until the bankruptcy of that ideology as an adequate public philosophy has taken its full measure will the good people of South Carolina finally recognize … that making government work is really in the best interests of all citizens.”
           
Woodiwiss argued it will take new political leadership in the form of an “inspiring moderate progressive” Republican or Democrat to turn the state around. As such, he said the 2010 gubernatorial election could more significant in South Carolina than similar races in other states.
           
Something more than hand-wringing?
 
But certainly, something beyond hand-wringing will have to take place in this legislative session.
             
House Judiciary Chair Jim Harrison (R-Columbia) said this week that government restructuring would be a priority, allowing for the governor to appoint more constitutional officers. As part of restructuring, Harrison also championed the idea of finally creating a Department of Administration and shifting some of the Budget and Control Board’s duties to that office.
           
Harrison said the battle over the cigarette tax would be stiffest over how to allocate the raised funds, not necessarily over how much.
           
Where Ways and Means’ Cooper was focused on money, it should be equally unsurprising that Sen. Larry Martin (R-Pickens), as chair of the Rules Committee in the Senate, was “optimistic” the Senate would act quickly to make votes in that chamber recorded and transparent.
           
Martin also said the legislature should next tackle economic development as a way to combat shortfalls and improve the long-term financial health of the state.
           
“This will be the year of reform or attempted reform,” according to Sen. Larry Grooms (R-Bonneau). Befitting his title as chair of Transportation in the Senate, Grooms said the state first needed to address transportation funding reform.
           
“The traditional method of a static per-gallon gasoline tax is not sustainable and it is inadequate to maintain and upgrade our existing highway network,” said Grooms, who would also like to see funding inequities between school districts across the state addressed.
           
Crystal ball: With so little on its bank ledger, it would help if everyone in the Statehouse were on the same page. In one key way they all are: Everyone knows there’s no money and that strong arguments will need to be made to keep a program running close to capacity. The question is: will legislators be able to make those arguments in such a way that it doesn’t stoke partisan fire or panic.
 
Bill Davis is editor of SC Statehouse Report.  He can be reached at:  editor@statehousereport.com
 
RECENT NEWS
 
Legislative Agenda

Back to work

With the General Assembly coming back into session on Tuesday, the number of meetings have increased for the coming week:

  • Ways and Means. Several subcommittees will meet over the next week:
The Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice subcommittee will meet Tuesday an hour and half after adjournment in 501 Blatt, and will hear budget reports from several departments and agencies. It will reconvene the next day, Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. in 511 Blatt to hear reports from other agencies.  
 
As part of its continuing budget meetings, the Legislative, Executive, and Local Government subcommittee will meet over a three-day span next week to review budgets of corresponding agencies and departments. On Tuesday, it will meet an hour and a half after adjournment in 318 Blatt; on Wednesday at 9 a.m. in 318 Blatt, and on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. in 318 Blatt.
 
The Education and Special Schools subcommittee will meet first on Tuesday an hour and a half after adjournment in 521 Blatt o discuss budgets and provisos of corresponding agencies. On Wednesday, it will reconvene in 521 Blatt at 9:30 a.m. to continue.
 
The Transportation and Regulatory subcommittee will meet Wednesday at 10 a.m., in 501 Blatt to hear reports from several agencies.
 
The Economic Development & Natural Resources subcommittee will meet Wednesday at noon in 523 Blatt to receive reports from the Conservation Bank, the Jobs Economic Development Authority and the S.C. State P.S.A.
  • Judiciary. The Elections subcommittee will meet Tuesday an hour and a half after adjournment in 515-A Blatt to deal with an election protest appeal for Dist. 115 filed by former Rep. Wallace Scarborough (R-Charleston). It will meet the following day at 9 a.m. in 101 Blatt.

  • Education. The full Education and Public Works Committee will meet Wednesday at 1 p.m. in 433 Blatt.
No Senate meetings have been posted yet. Check here later today.
 
In other state-related meetings and events:
  • MLK. U.S. Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) will serve as the keynote speaker at the University of South Carolina's Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. on Friday at The Zone at Williams-Brice Stadium. Tickets are available for purchase at the Carolina Coliseum Box Office and the Russell House University Union.

  • BEA. The Board of Economic Advisors has changed the time of its Thursday meeting in room 417 in the Rembert Dennis Building. It has been changed to 3 p.m.
     
  • Economy. The South Carolina Centers of Economic Excellence Review Board will release the results of a comprehensive evaluation of the South Carolina Centers of Economic Excellence (CoEE) Program (read: endowed chairs) in a news conference on Monday, Jan. 12 at 4:30 p.m. on the 16th floor of the Tower, 1301 Gervais, Columbia.

  • State of the State.  Gov. Mark Sanford has moved up the annual State of the State address to Wednesday to accommodate people heading to the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration.

  • Wilkins Award dinner.  State Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter will receive the fourth annual Wilkins leadership award during a Monday night dinner in Columbia.  Hundreds are expected to attend to hear former House Speaker and current Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins.  More:  Riley Institute.

  • Constitutional reform symposium.  The Charleston Law Review of the Charleston School of Law and the Riley Institute will hold a symposium next Friday with major state leaders talking about the power of our state's governor, whether the constitution should be rewritten and more.  There's also a Thursday evening keynote on the topic. 
Radar Screen

Silvery, hazy lining

What’s bad for the economy may turn out to be good for the air we breathe. As the state’s economy has continued to flounder, state tax revenues have fallen sharply, resulting in across-the-board state budget cuts. As a result, the chorus in and around the Statehouse is beginning to crescendo for increasing the state’s lowly 7 cents per pack cigarette tax beyond the 50-cent increase that initially passed the legislature last session. (The measure, however, failed to survive a gubernatorial veto.)
 
If the per-pack tax were increase to $1, some legislators have argued, then the state could expand health care and fund crippled agencies.
 
How does that bode well for the state chapter of the American Lung Association? Simple. Research has shown that as the price of tobacco products rise, the number of new smokers (think: kids) will drop as they are priced out of the market, and the number of current smokers will drop as tobacco products hit a price point more painful than even their addictions can endure.

Palmetto Politics

Sanford's budget to be released

Gov. Mark Sanford was scheduled to release his executive budget for 2009-10 this morning.

The budget is supposed to be available at www.sc.governor.com, but the link was inoperable at press time, perhaps due to Web traffic.

Dollars and sense
 
The S.C. Chamber of Commerce has released its 2009 Competitiveness Agenda, detailing what the collection of business leaders would like to see the legislature focus on this year. The plan details the Chamber’s wish-list on everything from workforce development to environmental issues.
 
Greening the state
 
The state Budget and Control Board reported this week that the federal Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which passed in October, could soon begin paying dividends in South Carolina, especially for homeowners. The act extended for another year tax credits for “energy efficient home improvements including windows, doors, roofs, insulation, HVAC and non-solar water heaters.”

“Given that one-quarter of our nation’s energy is expended in the residential sector, the extension of these credits should have an impact on energy independence as well as reducing operational costs for the life of the home, said Ralph Jenkins, a program manager with the Budget BCB’s
South Carolina Energy Office.
 
The usual suspects

Lobbyists and their principals will be able register their financial disclosures and lobby relationships electronically as of the June 30 disclosure report. The reports will be available at www.sc.gov and will be administered by the State Ethics Commission. It will be a searchable database. Transparency, ho!!!

Commentary

Palmetto Priorities highlight state objectives

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher

JAN. 9, 2009 – More than 40 years ago, my father did something clever in his small weekly newspaper in South Georgia: He started publishing a continuing list of community objectives to help guide the town toward working together to meet important common goals.

The list started off small, with just one entry in September 1963: Revaluation of property, which eventually happened. By the end of the year, he added another: Establishment of a county fair, which he recalls didn’t happen.
 
By June 1974, the list, which ran every week on the editorial page, had grown to 13 objectives. The paper’s opinion section urged the community to move forward by four-laning a major highway, consolidating city and county governments, opening a state-supported junior college and creating a county zoning authority.
 
These days, some of the ideas don’t seem radical at all. The point, though, was that the newspaper helped the community pull together when leaders weren’t working together on common goals to improve people’s lives in the county.
 
Much the same can be said now of state lawmakers, who return next week to take a whack at governing again. The 170 members of the General Assembly seem to mostly work as individuals or, occasionally, as competing caucuses of legislators. Missing is an overall spirit that there are some things in South Carolina that are beyond partisanship, beyond bickering and sniping.
 
In Oregon, the search for a common, overall agenda is institutionalized in the Oregon Progress Board, which brings people together to find the common agenda and figure out ways to get there. Why can’t we take a similar approach here?
 
Bottom line: If you don’t have a policy map for where you want to be headed, you will flounder in proposal after proposal. Therefore, today we highlight 11 broad continuing objectives for state legislators to consider and use as a bipartisan guide to creating a better South Carolina. We call it “Palmetto Priorities:”
 
JOBS.  Develop a Cabinet-level post dedicated to adding and retaining 10,000 small business jobs per year. Politicians talk about helping small businesses. This would force them to.
 
EDUCATION.  Cut the state’s dropout rate in half by 2015. 
 
HEALTH CARE. Increase the cigarette tax to $1 per pack and use revenues to maximize federal health care matching funds. With all of the health problems in South Carolina, it makes no sense to leave any federal matching money off the table.
 
HEALTH CARE.  Ensure affordable and accessible health care that optimizes preventive care for every South Carolinian by 2015. The federal government may develop a national solution, but we’ve been hearing that for years. The state needs to solve the problem here.
 
ENVIRONMENT.  Adopt a state energy policy that requires energy producers to generate 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020. If such a goal were established, lawmakers could implement an array of conservation and renewable energy policies to change the state’s energy course.
 
TAXES.  By 2012, remove special interest sales tax exemptions that are outdated for the state’s 21st Century economy. Special-interest tax breaks cost the state more than $1.5 billion in revenue every year. The state should review exemptions and get rid of ones that no longer are needed.
 
TAXES.  Reform and stabilize the tax structure by 2012 after following an overall nonpartisan review that seriously considers reimplementation of reasonable property taxes.
 
ELECTIONS.  Increase voter registration to 75 percent by 2015 by restructuring the state’s election, reducing voting barriers and making it easier for all to vote.
 
CORRECTIONS.  Reduce the prison population by 25 percent by 2020 through creative alternative sentencing programs for non-violent offenders.
 
ROADS.  Strengthen all bridges and upgrade all state roads by 2015 through creative highway financing and maintenance programs.
 
POLITICS.  Have a vigorous two- or multi-party political system of governance.
 
You may have a different list of priorities. That’s fine. Regardless of what makes it on a list, now is the time we need to pull together as a state to develop a list of goals and start acting on the big, shared objectives on which we can agree. Then we need to implement solutions. 
 
Otherwise, we’ll keep spinning our wheels, mired in intellectual indolence. We’re better than that.
 
Andy Brack, publisher of S.C. Statehouse Report, can be reached at: brack@statehousereport.com.
 
Past commentaries

1/2:  Sanford should apologize to SC
12/26:  Common sense dictates better focus on jobs
12/19: Who's been naughty or nice in 2008?
12/12: SC can learn about renewable energy from Germany

Spotlight

ACLU of South Carolina

ACLU of South Carolina's National OfficeThe public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring SC Statehouse Report to you at no cost. This week, we’re happy to unveil our newest underwriter – the American Civil Liberties Union.  The ACLU of South Carolina’s National Office in Charleston is dedicated to preserving the civil liberties enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Through communications, lobbying and litigation, the ACLU South Carolina’s National Office works to preserve and enhance the rights of all citizens of South Carolina.  Foremost among these rights are freedom of speech and religion, the right to equal treatment under law, and the right to privacy.  More:  http://www.aclusouthcarolina.org/

My Turn

SC in dire need of leadership

By REP. LEON STAVRINAKIS
Special to SC Statehouse Report

JAN. 9, 2009 -- Our state and her people are at a crossroads.  State leaders did not do enough to make sure the state took full advantage of the economic boom years in the 1990's and earlier this decade. We did not use those opportunities to build a broader, more stable economy where all parts of South Carolina could thrive and share in the American dream. We did not build a top-notch, 21st century education system anchored by a much-needed statewide 4-year old pre-school program. Finally, we did not make the people of our state healthier and consequently more likely to live longer, more prosperous lives.
 
Now the boom years are a distant memory, the worst global recession in a generation is upon us and South Carolinians are being hit hard. Joblessness is soaring, revenues are disappearing in both the private and public sector, and the cuts in areas of critical need are coming fast and furious. The result is that we have fallen further behind in economic development, education, public health and now we are nearly completely unable to address these problems and others which have long plagued our state.
 
For six years I have watched both up close and from a distance the continuing battle between Republican Gov. Mark Sanford and Republican leaders in the S.C. General Assembly for control of state government and South Carolina’s future. Over that time I have refused to become personally involved in what I saw as a selfish and often childish power struggle. I supported the governor when his policies were right (government restructuring, eliminating waste, recorded voting, DOT reform, etc.) and opposed his policies when they were wrong (vouchers, sprinkler safety veto, education cuts, child health care cuts, etc.). I have always evaluated each and every issue before me based on their respective merits regardless of party or personality and voted the way I thought was right.
 
I have tried to ignore the bickering hoping it would go away. Sadly it has only gotten worse and coincidentally, or perhaps not, so have the future prospects for our state and her people. It is bad enough to have this going on when times are relatively good but now people in South Carolina are suffering in a big way and it is forecast to get worse. Instead of simply lamenting lost opportunities to better our state’s future as we have over the past few years, now we are talking about a government seemingly incapable of providing assistance to those we serve at a time of critical, often desperate need.
 
Our state continues to lose ground on fundamental issues like education, health and economic opportunity. Too many jobs are vanishing, too many of our children are not healthy, too many do not start school ready to learn much less excel, and too many end up drop outs with limited future opportunities. We need our governor and legislative leaders to work together so that we can catch up with our neighbors and then focus on putting South Carolina at or near the top in these vital areas. We have needed it for years now.
 
The sad reality is that until we address this excessive personal bickering and destructive partisanship in government the issues we care about are unlikely to be resolved. The goal must be solving problems and making South Carolina a better place to live, work and raise a family. It is time for the people of South Carolina, elected officials included, to set our partisan or personal allegiances aside and start keeping score on who is actually meeting the responsibility of leading us to a better future and who is not.
 
In the recent elections, we have seen some of our neighboring state’s citizenry do just that. Six years ago, Georgians, unhappy with Democratic leadership, elected their first Republican governor since Reconstruction and voted out a well-liked incumbent U.S. senator. This past year, our neighboring citizens in North Carolina and Virginia broke their longstanding tradition of voting Republican in presidential races to voice their discontent with the status quo and business as usual.
 
With our state suffering so badly, we need better, more focused leadership. We must demand a stop to the excessive personal bickering in Columbia. It is holding our state back and limiting opportunities for this and future generations. We must demand better results from the Republicans who have had absolute control of our state government for years now and also from Democrats who at times seem content to just sit back and watch.
 
It’s time to keep score on our would be leaders and, if they do not produce, we must hold them accountable and have the courage to buck tradition for a new beginning.
 
State Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, a lawyer who is former chair of Charleston County Council, is a Democrat from Charleston. More.

 

Recent MY TURN commentaries

1/2:  Time to stick up for democracy, by Ashley Landess
12/12:
MASC's agenda focuses on challenges, solutions, by Miriam Hair
12/5:
Repower, refuel, rebuild, by Carolyn Schretzmann-Jebaily
Feedback

1/5: Backs Sanford, apology column is tripe

To Statehouse Report:

I just finished reading your article on Governor Sanford, and all that I can say is...WOW! How someone can be so off the mark on the governor’s stances on these issues is beyond me. The fact that Governor Sanford has been so steadfast on South Carolina's many fiscal problems is all that has kept our state from complete disarray. In tough economic times it is the responsibility of all people, and that includes government, to make tough choices and live within their means. That is all Governor Sanford is trying to accomplish. He only sought to make sure that the ESC would not waste the money.
 
Why is it a bad thing to make sure that an agency will use the funds it is given in the most efficient way possible? I would say that Governor Sanford did not pit "77,000 unemployed South Carolinians against a zealous desire to have an audit;" he simply stood up for the taxpayers of South Carolina. It is the taxpayers' money and all we ask is that it be used wisely. When bureaucracy is involved any amount of oversight that can be invoked is still probably not sufficient to prevent waste.

Throughout his entire time as governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford has always been for fiscal moderation and he has remained on the side of the taxpayer. I think that is a fine thing and he should in no way apologize for it. You say he was failing to lead; I say your article is tripe.
 
-- John L. Smith Jr., Florence County, S.C.
 
1/3: Illegal aliens are the problem

 
To Statehouse Report:

Every elected official, from small town mayors to Governor Sanford, are bought and paid for by lobbyists. They { the government } could care less about the citizens, who pay the taxes in this state, then turn around and give or tax dollars to ILLEGAL ALIENS with food stamps, free medical care, education, just to name a few. OK! I need to stop, my blood pressure is going up. It makes me sick to think this is happening.  AND IT IS!

-- Rick Rosado, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Scorecard

Ups and downs of the week

Fairey. The Obama transition team has selected a poster designed by Charleston native and graphic designer Shepard Fairey to be its official inauguration signage (http://obeygiant.com). Fairey came to international acclaim years ago when he launched the “Andre the Giant has a posse” sticker phenomenon. Trust us, both are very cool.
 
Bolden. Columbia native and former astronaut Ret. USMC Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr. has reportedly made the Obama shortlist to become the next head of NASA. More: The State

Reedin’. The percentage of South Carolina adults who lacked basic literacy skills may well have shrunk by one-fourth from 1992 to 2003, according to a recent U.S. Department of Education study, but 15 percent of South Carolinian adults still can’t read a newspaper. More: Greenville News (if you can read it).
 
Economy. Look out your window. That way, you can stop weeping after looking at your bank account. (This will be a permanent item until the economy improves, or the Gamecocks win a major bowl, whichever comes first.)
 
State employees. The list of what state government employees may soon have to pay for instead of the state is growing. And growing. More: The State.

Education. Teacher payrolls may be frozen and new school buses may be put off because of K-12 budget cuts.
 
Sanford. Announcing that you were shortening your agenda for the last two years of your tenure, and all you basically do is swap “reducing state income tax” for “naming my successor,” shows you still aren’t ready to play well with others. Or lead.

Stegelin

Budget cuts

credits

Statehouse Report

Editor and Publisher: Andy Brack
Senior Editor: Bill Davis
Contributing Photographer: Michael Kaynard

Phone: 843.670.3996

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