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Being A South Carolina Legislator Isn’t Easy June 18, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.



FITSNews – June 18, 2007 – South Carolina legislators really are heroes. Seriously, you wouldn’t think that passing a state budget and fixing a wasteful and inefficient transportation department was harder than, say, landing on a planet-killing asteroid moving towards Earth at 22,500 miles per hour, drilling a hole into it and detonating a nuclear warhead, but yeah, that’s pretty much the kind of crisis we’re up against. And you know South Carolinians, people. Half of us never even learned how to read, or tie our own shoelaces.

Anyway, after spending months whining across the State House lobby at each other, South Carolina’s Senate and House of Representatives will be back in Columbia this week to take another stab at drafting a $7.4 billion spending plan and restructuring the S.C. Department of Transportation, which is about as well-managed as you would expect it to be in a state where half of our kids don’t graduate from high school.

So after a twelve-day break in which leaders from both legislative bodies (each controlled by Republicans, by the way) did nothing but throw spitballs back and forth at each other, the fate of the world once again rests squarely on the shoulders of these brave men and women. Except it’s not really the fate of the world, it’s actually pay raises for by-and-large success-challenged state employees, new school buses for the nation’s only communist-run bus system and a pair of tax cuts so insignificant you need a microscope to see them.

Not surprisingly Republican Gov. Mark Sanford, whose major accomplishment after five years in office is a healthy if not entirely natural tan, is rooting for nothing to happen on the budget.

Ironically, so are we, because it would mean the vast majority of state spending would be frozen at last year’s levels – a case of accidental fiscal discipline, if you will. Of course after growing government by 25% the two previous years, we think a year of holding our horses (with about $1 billion earning interest) makes sense – irrespective of the motivation.

Over the break, Republican House Speaker Bobby Harrell blamed the impasse on the State Senate’s “lack of action” on transportation reform and its “strong unwillingness to bring accountability to a government agency that has wasted millions of taxpayer dollars.”

Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell fired back five days later, claiming that Harrell’s arguments included “more bologna … than in a delicatessen,” and made use of “the brinksmanship of delay in order to point a finger of blame at the Senate.”

McConnell claimed the House was so focused on “money for earmarks” and creating “an annualization nightmare” that it passed a shoddy transportation reform bill which “would guarantee us a shortfall in other areas and possibly a tax increase with no dedicated source of recurring revenue.”

But the testiness didn’t end there.

Last Thursday, State Rep. Annette Young sent a letter to McConnell accusing the Senate of “walking away from the negotiations” and failing to meet the House halfway on transportation reform.

McConnell responded with a vengeange.

“Perhaps if you would concentrate on the poor wording in your bill instead of posturing in the press, you would have time to get all of the things straight and help us make some real progress,” he wrote Young that same day.

McConnell also told Young she was merely “continuing the blame game that the House is so fond of staging.”

Isn’t it sweet when Republicans play nice?

Again, we hope nothing happens over the next week but that’s probably too much to ask of heroes with this kind of mettle. They’re gonna land on that asteroid and blow it up, dagblastit, because like those astronauts in the movie Armageddon, humankind as we know it really does hang in the balance.



1. G.L. - June 18, 2007

This Young woman needs to be voted out, although I could say the same for about half the other house members.

2. DOT reform limps forward » The Palmetto Scoop - June 19, 2007

[…] appears that our superhero legislators have reached a “tentative” agreement on the much-debated but much-needed DOT reform. […]

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