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The Waste Brigade October 31, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
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hazardous waste

WHEN BIG GOVERNMENT BACKERS ATTACK

FITSNews – October 31, 2007 – As welcomes go, it certainly wasn’t the politest we’ve seen. But then again, yesterday’s showdown over waste and mismanagement at the $1.8 billion State Budget & Control Board (B&CB) was bound to be contentious. That’s generally what happens when an intelligent individual who cares about protecting taxpayers presents findings to a group comprised mostly of thick-skulled Democrats whose very existence depends on perpetuating their exploitation.

In fact, Charleston businessman Chad Walldorf hadn’t even finished introducing the members of his GEAR report committee before the legislative panel investigating its cost-saving recommendations began attacking the credibility of the report.

Not at all surprisingly, that trail was blazed by State Sen. Hugh Leatherman, the leading sponsor and preeminent defender of Columbia’s wasteful status quo, who interrupted Walldorf during his introductions to point out that the committee’s recommendations were not unanimous.

Of course, what Leatherman failed to mention was that the chief detractor of the report, former B&CB Executive Director Rick Kelly, was appointed to the committee by Leatherman himself – and attended just one of its meetings. The other committee member who objected to its findings, former B&CB Chief of Staff Stephen Osborne, was appointed to the committee by Leatherman’s “partner in Socialism,” House Ways & Means Chairman Dan Cooper.

Issued this earlier this summer, the GEAR report presented dozens of recommendations designed to reform operations at the B&CB, which remains the only quasi-legislative, quasi-executive administrative agency in the nation. The agency currently receives only $22 million a year in direct state funding, but collects almost $2 billion in fees from state agencies.

A mix of internal and legislative changes, if fully-implemented the report’s recommendations would result in $497 million worth of taxpayer savings over the next three years.

Unfortunately, only a handful of the recommendations have been implemented thusfar, and most members of the oxymoronic Joint Legislative Committee on Government Accountability and Oversight seemed more interested in throwing stones yesterday than looking beneath them for taxpayer savings.

State Sen. Larry Martin, for example, served as Leatherman’s aide-de-camp on the anti-GEAR warpath, calling the report a “mischaracterization” because it suggested a “bloated bureaucracy” at an agency whose budget – by his math – “don’t start addin’ up that way.”

We don’t speak “Pickens-ese,” but we assume Sen. Martin was implying that the budget for the B&CB has gone down in recent years, which is true if you’re talking general fund dollars, not so true if you factor in the hundreds of millions the board rakes in from various state agencies each year in fees.

Also indignant at the report’s methodology was Rep. Brian White, who has dutifully earned the nickname “Mini-Cooper” for his lap dog-like allegiance to the state’s waste-mongering Ways & Means Chairman.

Things got so bad at one point, we thought a medic might have to be called in to take the arrows out of Walldorf’s back.

So why the hostile reaction (by a bunch of so-called Republicans, no less) to a report solely focused on improving efficiency and cutting government waste?

Isn’t that stuff Republicans are supposed to like?

Not in South Carolina, people, despite Sen. Leatherman’s laughable quote that “we’re for saving taxpayers’ money, too.”

Really? Is that why state spending in South Carolina has soared by 41% over the last three years?

And certainly “saving taxpayers’ money” wasn’t at the forefront of Leatherman’s mind when he pushed for $1 million of your money to go to a green bean museum in his district?

Perhaps the real reason for the report’s chilly reception is that it was commissioned by Gov. Mark Sanford, who could probably commission a report concluding that “gravity works” or “the sky is blue” and still face legislative criticism.

Don’t get us wrong, Sanford has consistently shown the leadership skill of a turnip in advancing the ideas he’s passionate about, but at some point don’t the merits of a proposal count for anything?

Sadly, if the reaction of this so-called “accountability” committee yesterday is any indication, the answer to that question is still an unequivocal “NO” here in South Carolina.

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Comments»

1. Silence Dogood - October 31, 2007

“That’s generally what happens when an intelligent individual who cares about protecting taxpayers presents findings to a group comprised mostly of thick-skulled Democrats”???

What are you going to do, this state is run by Democrats…have you ever considered that just because Republicans do something you don’t agree with it doesn’t make them Democrats or the moment? So quick question, since spending didn’t increase as quickly when Democrats actually were in charge of the State House, was the General Assembly run by Republicans then?

2. "Sanfeld" The Administration About Nothing - October 31, 2007

Information, like loaded guns, can be very dangerous in the hands of untrained amateurs. Kelly and Osborne have probably forgotten more about public administration than Walldorf and his merry old gang of hatchet wielders have demonstrated in this fiasco. It only takes one whiff of the skunk to know it stinks. Kudos to Kelly for finding something more important to do with his time.

This whole GEAR thing was engineered to fit predetermined outcomes fabricated in fantasy land. Any casual observer saw the train coming from the next county over. Sanfeld and Son ensured from the get-go that this latest exercise in puerile tantrums would be dead on arrival in the GA. Give it a rest, FITS.

And don’t blame the GA. We simply need a Republican leader like Carroll Campbell and an Executive Staff that actually has a clue about governance. My pappy always said that you can’t squeeze milk from a bull (though Sanfeld and Son keep trying). Perhaps it’s time to actually question why this Administration can’t seem to do anything right. They’ve got a more meager record of leadership than Hillary – and that’s really saying something!

3. FITSNews - October 31, 2007

Give it a rest, dearest Sanfeld? We’re not defending Marky Mark, unless of course you think that reference to him having the “leadership skill of a turnip” was a compliment.

And no, Silence, to answer your question the S.C. State House has always been run by Democrats.

Pay attention, people. Things move pretty quick around here.

4. "Sanfeld" The Administration About Nothing - October 31, 2007

Methinks you have insulted some pretty decent turnips here, O Wet One.

A universal truth…… When you foul the water, no one will drink it. Any good ideas of the GEAR have been lost in the runoff. And despite what some well-meaning folks think, there are few easy answers in life. The Caped Crusader has single-handedly restored our Legislative dominion proving this dictum.

Is it too much to expect the GA to show a modicum of statecraft and fiscal responsibility? They were arguably better before the “Republicans” took over both houses.

No need to ride the fast train in these parts…… the kiddies on both floors of the State House will never get adult passes.

5. Silence Dogood - November 1, 2007

FITS thanks for the response, I didn’t realize it was run by dems (I willing admit I don’t follow state politics as closely as you do – or you’d be reading my blog instead of vice-versa). So, will committee chairs change based on this revelation?


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