Join us to stay informed:

South Carolina Club for Growth

SC Club for Growth - Key Vote

The South Carolina Club for Growth urges all Representatives to vote YES on any amendment that removes Part III, which bonds out almost $500 million for projects around the state.

Part III of the budget was introduced and adopted at the last minute by the Ways and Means Committee with little public discussion. With a total budget of over $24 billion it is tough to have an open discussion on every item. However, Part III should have received more scrutiny and more time for the public to review it before it was added to the budget.

No financial advisor would tell their client to pay off a credit card then max it out the next day – yet this is exactly what is being done with Part III. We have been told that the state will, “pay off a large portion of its debt portfolio in the next few years.” This is great news, but this is a horrible reason to pass a bonding bill spending almost half a billion dollars.

Responsible spending has been a focus of the South Carolina Club for Growth since our founding. Any amendment that removes part III from the budget will be scored heavily on the 2015 Club for Growth Foundation’s Scorecard.

-###-

The South Carolina Club for Growth urges all Senators to vote “NO” on any motion to override Governor Haley’s budget vetoes. Sadly the House sustained very few vetoes and approved a backdoor pay raise for themselves 20 minutes after they voted against it. Today, fiscal conservatives in the Senate have a chance to prove that they care how our tax dollars are spent.

The 76 vetoes in the 2014-2015 budget represent $18.5 million in pork projects, duplicative programs and poor budgeting practices. What budget discipline will ever exist if compromise in Columbia is defined as: “I’ll support your (museum, sports program, etc – you fill in the blank), if you will support mine”? Rather than trade favors with each other, we believe your higher calling is to prioritize the state’s major needs like roads, the unfunded retirement pension, etc. We believe you are in office as stewards of South Carolina’s future. It is a high calling.   

As in previous years this budget contains excessive spending that leaves taxpayers picking up the tab. Specifically the following items should have never been included in the budget and we encourage Representatives to sustain these vetoes:

Vetoes 34-38: These items could easily be funded by private donations or money from local governments – if they are a priority for local residents.

Vetoes 55 and 57: These two vetoes eliminate state funding for youth sports programs and football exhibition games. While sports can be an important part of a child’s development, it is not a core function of state government to support these programs.

Veto 59: The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, billed as the largest event of its kind in the US, had $200,000 removed in this veto. An event that has been this successful for decades should not have to rely on state funding which will indirectly subsidize the take home pay of the CEO.

Veto 72: Any taxpayer money that is appropriated for non-state programs should be scrutinized carefully. Giving money to fix buildings that do not house a core function and that the state does not own is a slippery slope and not one legislators should try to navigate.

Vetoes 73 and 74: While well intentioned, these two projects do not benefit South Carolinians as a whole. If these projects are as important as legislators believe they are then local governments should step up and fund these projects.

Veto 76: Legislators claim their salaries are not high enough and felt the need to backdoor in a pay raise. If legislators feel they are not fairly compensated they could shorten our much too long session to increase their hourly pay. Sneaking a legislative pay raise in through a budget proviso is bad public policy and will be scored heavily on the scorecard.

Responsible spending has been a focus of the South Carolina Club for Growth since our founding.  Select vetoes from this year’s budget veto message will be a part of the SC Club for Growth Foundation’s 2014 Scorecard.

-###-

The South Carolina Club for Growth urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on any motion to override Governor Haley’s budget vetoes.

The 76 vetoes in the 2014-2015 budget represent $18.5 million in pork projects, duplicative programs and poor budgeting practices. What budget discipline will ever exist if compromise in Columbia is defined as: “I’ll support your (museum, sports program, etc – you fill in the blank), if you will support mine”? Rather than trade favors with each other, your higher calling is to prioritize the state’s major needs like roads, the unfunded retirement pension, etc. You are in office as stewards of South Carolina’s future. It is a high calling.   

As in previous years this budget contains excessive spending that leaves taxpayers picking up the tab. Specifically the following items should have never been included in the budget and we encourage Representatives to sustain these vetoes:

Vetoes 34-38: These items could easily be funded by private donations or money from local governments – if they are a priority for local residents.

Vetoes 55 and 57: These two vetoes eliminate state funding for youth sports programs and football exhibition games. While sports can be an important part of a child’s development, it is not a core function of state government to support these programs.

Veto 59: The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, billed as the largest event of its kind in the US, had $200,000 removed in this veto. An event that has been this successful for decades should not have to rely on state funding which will indirectly subsidize the take home pay of the CEO.

Veto 61: This veto removed money for the Carolina Panthers training camp in Spartanburg. An out of state football team worth over a billion dollars owned by an out of state billionaire should be able to pick up their $75,000 cost rather than putting that burden on the taxpayers of South Carolina.

Veto 72: Any taxpayer money that is appropriated for non-state programs should be scrutinized carefully. Giving money to fix buildings that do not house a core function and that the state does not own is a slippery slope and not one legislators should try to navigate.

Vetoes 73 and 74: While well intentioned, these two projects do not benefit South Carolinians as a whole. If these projects are as important as legislators believe they are then local governments should step up and fund these projects.

Veto 76: Legislators claim their salaries are not high enough and felt the need to backdoor in a pay raise. If legislators feel they are not fairly compensated they could shorten our much too long session to increase their hourly pay. Sneaking a legislative pay raise in through a budget proviso is bad public policy and will be scored heavily on the scorecard.

Responsible spending has been a focus of the South Carolina Club for Growth since our founding.  Select vetoes from this year’s budget veto message will be a part of the SC Club for Growth Foundation’s 2014 Scorecard.

-###-

Tomorrow morning H. 3945, the ethics reform bill, will go to a conference committee. This means three Representatives and three Senators will try to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.

Unfortunately, both versions of H.3945 still allow for self-policing in the legislature. We need you to contact the six legislators at the bottom of this email and tell them the self-policing has to stop.

“State lawmakers appear willing to pass a watered-down ethics reform bill that continues to allow legislators to police themselves. We question whether a bill that doesn’t contain a provision for an independent oversight commission composed of non-legislators is even worth passing.” 1

H. 3945 was introduced over two years ago, and has been touted as the most important piece of legislation this session. Since then, the House Speaker has been the subject of a state grand jury investigation for illegal use of campaign funds and using his office for personal gain. Based on a questionable interpretation of the current law, one judge has ruled that because the case did not go before the House Ethics Committee – the Speaker’s friends – the grand jury cannot continue.

“For more than two years now, our legislators have been promising to improve our ethics law, which does not require enough disclosure, does not prohibit enough self-serving actions and does not provide serious enough enforcement.” 2

H.3945 could show taxpayers – not to mention the rest of the nation – that lawmakers are serious about real accountability. Remember, current ethics laws are so weak that even the chief prosecutor for South Carolina, the Attorney General, is not able to investigate criminal charges against legislators without legislative approval.

“And just when we thought our Legislature couldn’t get any less interested in making sure that whatever law they pass is enforced, Judge Manning blew up the ultimate enforcement mechanism, declaring that the attorney general can’t prosecute legislators for profiting from office unless they give their permission, through their self-policing Ethics committees.” 3

Efforts to stop self-policing for the legislature have been prevented. This weekend, newspapers from around South Carolina called for a stronger ethics reform bill. We agree with them. Without real independent oversight, H. 3945 doesn’t fix the biggest problem with ethics laws.

“Already the bill has been diminished by the absence of an independent body for judging those violations. It is a cliché that retaining House and Senate ethics committees is like having the fox guard the henhouse. But it is nonetheless true.” 4

Below are links to the legislators that are part of the conference committee for this bill. Please call or email them and let them know that South Carolinians are tired of the self-policing in the Statehouse and deserve true independent oversight.

Representatives DelleneyBannister and Weeks

Senators HayesRankin and Hutto

Remember, the conference committee meets tomorrow morning so be sure to call or email early!

1 – “State ethics bill is too weak.” The Herald [Rock Hill, SC] 31 May 2014

2,3 – Scoppe, Cindi “Is the ethics bill worth passing? It depends.” The State [Columbia, SC] 31 May 2014

4 –  “Beat the legislative clock.” The Post and Courier [Charleston, SC] 1 June 2014
– ### –

« Previous Entries