Send your feedback:
feedback@statehousereport.com

ISSUE 10.32
Aug. 12, 2011

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

Index

News :
Brain drain
Legislative Agenda :
Rhymes: Kerry here in 2003, Perry in 2011
Palmetto Politics :
House GOP studies tax code
Commentary :
Tea party zealots are ruining the American dream
Spotlight :
S.C. Association for Justice
My Turn :
Do something real
Feedback :
Thanks for your journalism
Scorecard :
Two up, one down the middle, two down
Stegelin :
Late state
Number of the Week :
$144,000,000.00
Megaphone :
Smart, South Carolina, real smart
In our other publications :
Defeat of Charleston led Stephen Bull to self-imposed exile
In our other publications :
Explore Charleston online

© 2002 - 2018, Statehouse Report LLC. All Rights Reserved. South Carolina Statehouse Report is published weekly.

News tips or calendar info?
E-mail
the editor.

Phone: 843.670.3996

Send
General e-mail

Credits.

UNDERWRITERS

SEARCH THE ARCHIVES

powered by

NUMBER OF THE WEEK

$144,000,000.00

That’s how much in federal education assistance that was originally slated to come to South Carolina’s K-12 schools, but will now go to other states. The reason? South Carolina’s higher ed cuts meant it didn’t meet federal guidelines for the K-12 money. The reaction? Good riddance, if you listen to Superintendent of Education Mick Zais, who said the money should stay in the nation’s treasury where the federal government could “take the first step in curing Washington's addiction to spending." More.

MEGAPHONE

Smart, South Carolina, real smart

"It makes me sick to my stomach to think that $144 million is going to other students in other states. This is money going directly back to the taxpayers of South Carolina, and we're turning it down to go to other states … Instead of Lexington, South Carolina, it'll go to Lexington, Kentucky.”

– Molly Spearman, executive director of the South Carolina Association of School Administrators, reacting to news that the state’s portion of a federal K-12 grant program, which Gov. Nikki Haley’s office called a “bailout,” would go to other states due to cuts in state higher education funding. More.

IN OUR OTHER PUBLICATIONS

Defeat of Charleston led Stephen Bull to self-imposed exile

Stephen Bull was born in South Carolina, the only surviving son of Stephen Bull and Martha Godin. He was descended from one of the first families of colonial South Carolina and was the nephew of Lieutenant Governor William Bull Jr.

Bull inherited Sheldon Plantation in Prince William's Parish. His family's prominence thrust him into political leadership. He represented Prince William's in the Commons House of Assembly from 1757 to 1760 and served as a justice of the peace from 1756 to 1769.


Ruins of Sheldon Church, near the old plantation.

On the eve of the Revolutionary War, Bull was the colonel commanding the Beaufort District militia regiment. Unlike most members of his family, Bull supported the American cause and took up arms against the king. He led his regiment in the occupation of Savannah in 1776, a decisive event in bolstering Georgia patriots and driving Loyalists from Savannah. In 1778 Bull was promoted to brigadier general and led his regiment in the ill-fated American campaign against British East Florida. Command of the American forces was divided between General Robert Howe of the Continental army and Governor John Houston of Georgia. The American army never got past the Loyalist fort at St. Mary's, Georgia.

Bull participated with General William Moultrie in the American victory at Port Royal Island on Feb. 3, 1779. Two months later the Lowcountry was overrun by British General Augustine Prevost's invasion from Georgia, and defeat and desertions decimated Bull's regiment. After the fall of Charleston in May 1780, Bull went into self-imposed exile in Virginia and Maryland and offered no more service to the patriot cause.

Politically, Bull was elected from Prince William's Parish to the First and Second Provincial Congresses in 1775 and 1776 and the First and Second General Assemblies of South Carolina from 1776 to 1778. After the war Bull was a member of the S.C. House of Representatives from 1783 to 1790. He was twice elected to the S.C. Senate but declined to serve.

Bull was married first to Elizabeth Woodward, on December 18, 1755, and then to Ann Barnwell, on May 24, 1772. By his second wife he had three daughters: Charlotte, Mary, and Sarah. Bull died in 1800 and was buried at the ancestral seat at Ashley Hall, but he was later interred in Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Lawrence S. Rowland. To read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina, check out The South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used by permission.)

IN OUR OTHER PUBLICATIONS

Explore Charleston online

If you want to read some good news and views involving Charleston, take a look at CharlestonCurrents.com, our sister publication.  In the most recent two issues, you'll learn about sivvy beans, South Carolina rum, Charleston School of Law's accreditation, 10 recommendations by a hotel concierge of cool things to do in Charleston, how an Ohio native played a key role in Confederate Charleston and much, much more.
 
If you want to get the latest daily news about South Carolina, consider SCClips.com.

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.

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE

Subscriptions to Statehouse Report are now free. Click here to subscribe.

YOUR COMMENTARY SOUGHT

Every week in our new My Turn section, we seek guest commentaries on issues of public and policy importance to South Carolina. If you're interested, click here to learn more.

OPPORTUNITY

Become an underwriter

Statehouse Report is an underwriter-supported legislative forecast with new added features that provide more information about what’s going to happen at the SC General Assembly and in state government.

Organizations and companies that underwrite the publication receive a host of exciting benefits through branding, information spotlights and more.

To learn more about our exciting transformation and how your organization or business can benefit, click here. Or give us a holler on the phone at: 843.670.3996.

Statehouse Report -- making it easier to learn more about state politics and policy.

News

Brain drain

State government is losing experienced workers

By Bill Davis, senior editor

AUG. 12, 2011 – State government is losing a class of its most tenured and most informed workers due to job insecurity brought on by political and funding volatility, senior Statehouse sources say.

Workers with massive amounts of experience and education are opting out of state jobs because, in part, what made those jobs attractive in the first place is being removed – stability and benefits.

Burnet Maybank III, former director of the state Department of Revenue under Govs. David Beasley and Mark Sanford, said this week that he had seen more and more of the state’s most competent workers leave state government jobs. Lured by better pay and more job security, they have been leaving not only for the private sector, but also for county government positions, he observed.

“The problem is that there is just no job security in state government, with a round of layoffs being followed by another round of layoffs,” said Maybank, who chaired last year’s Taxation Realignment Commission.

Maybank, echoing the concerns of others, said, “in today’s environment, it’s going to be difficult to attract candidates with advanced degrees to state government jobs.”

One ranking state agency official, who asked not to be identified, added, “We see it everywhere we look. We find ourselves saying what trouble we’d been in if ‘that guy’ left.”

While no hard numbers appear to exist on the outflow of experienced state officials, many of those remaining are concerned because of episodes like the state experienced last year. When a financial guru at the state Department of Social Services retired, DSS soon made headlines for a $28 million deficit. The retiree was rehired, the numbers were re-crunched, a replacement was retrained and the deficit hasn’t reappeared.

One grizzled Statehouse vet grumbled that if the political and funding environment didn't stabilize, then agencies would be led by inexperienced political appointees and manned by employees to scared to do their jobs.

That same vet, speaking of condition of anonymity, said the environment had become toxic at the Budget and Control Board, a 950-employee agency with a $200 million-plus budget that oversees the state’s budget. Eleanor Kitzman, who took over as the board's executive director in January, recently resigned her position and left for a job in Texas.

This week, Gov. Nikki Haley appointed Marcia Adams as the new executive director of the state’s Budget and Control Board. Adams had served as the agency’s chief of staff since January, and before that had served in state government as the executive director of the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles from 2003 to 2011.

Adams’ new job will be to report to members of the board, comprised of the governor, the state treasurer, the comptroller general, and the chairs of the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee.

There was some concerned expressed in Columbia this week over Adams’ appointment because, despite several decades of state service, she had only been at the “byzantine” Budget and Control Board a few months.

Adams could not be reached for comment by press time, despite repeated attempts.

Some worried that on top of her relative newness, Adams’ highest degree was a master’s in business administration from Webster University, a satellite program held on a nearby military base.

But that complaint may be an empty one, as past board directors have ranged from Frank Fusco, who preceded Kitzman, who held only a bachelor’s degree along with his 37 years of service, to Fred Carter, the current president of Francis Marion who had earned a doctorate.

“Well, she went to Clemson, so I equate that with a Ph.D. from USC,” quipped former legislator Dan Cooper, who recently stepped down from his chair of the Ways and Means Committee.

Cooper said that he, like Maybank and others, had seen “a lot of institutional knowledge lost over the past few years” and that class of workers would be hard to replace.

Another insider said that he saw no reason to work in state government, because the pay was better at the county level.

Haley’s office did not reply to questions following requests made Thursday and today.

Crystal ball: Unless political winds stop blowing so hard, more qualified workers will leave and equally qualified administrators will continue to avoid applying for state government jobs in South Carolina. Working in an agency that could be down $200 million one month, up $100 million the next month, with a program that could be cut for political reasons makes it a hard sell. If this continues, there will be a big question to answer: Who’s minding the store? And there may be only one answer: You get what you pay for.

Bill Davis, editor of Statehouse Report, can be reached at:  editor@statehousereport.com.

Legislative Agenda

Rhymes: Kerry here in 2003, Perry in 2011

There are no scheduled major state meetings next week, but Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is expected to announce his candidacy for the presidency in Charleston this weekend.

Palmetto Politics

House GOP studies tax code

A study group lead by state Rep. Tommy Stringer (R-Greer) has already begun meeting to create a list of recommendations for the House GOP Caucus to propose a more workable state tax code.

Stringer told Statehouse Report that he is trying to involve as many different viewpoints in the study, having already taken submissions from fans of the so-called Fair Tax movement. Next up will be presentations from members of the state’s Taxation Realignment Commission and members of the state’s community of certified public accountants.

Stringer, unlike many of his study committee members, has not signed a no-new-taxes pledge, and said his goal is help craft a “workable and relevant” state tax code. His biggest concern listening so far to some of the most entrenched members of the committee is that there could be unintended consequences to the state economy if sweeping changes were enacted.

“The issue with the tax code, is that it is a historical record,” said Stringer, referring to how the politics of the day have affected the tax code of the present. He also said not enough attention has been spent on revenues, while the lion’s share has been spent on just spending.

Commentary

Tea party zealots are ruining the American dream

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher

AUG. 12, 2011 – The vitriol being spewed by the underinformed acolytes of the tea party is troubling for America's free future.

You see, these folks are mad (in more ways than one). And they'll tell anybody they know that they're mad. At what? It doesn't really seem to matter. They're just enraged.

By channeling the tea parties of the Revolution, they shroud their rage and equate it with what was happening in our united states back in the 1770s. The problem is that the two times – then and now – are far from the same.

“They're attempting to adopt the noble causes of the past to fit the craziness of the present,” one wag accurately told us this week.

Some 240 years ago, colonists revolted because of “taxation without representation.” They had a list of grievances, outlined in the Declaration of Independence, that described why they were upset with the British Crown and felt the need to be independent. History shows that in South Carolina, the struggle with the British was not about taxes, but about whom would govern.

Read the Declaration. You won't find that people were mad about taxes the way modern-day tea partiers are. And that's exactly where the rub about what's occuring develops.

Just being mad at everything is destructive, not constructive. Being proud of voting no and opposing things for the sake of opposing them, as is the case with South Carolina's own lockstep GOP Gang of Six (its five GOP congressman and mentor, U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint) – doesn't lead to solutions for the sputtering American economy.

Ignoring compromise solutions and insisting on only one way is not what the framers of our Constitution did. They talked. They cajoled. They respected each other and worked together for the common good.

But these tea party wingnuts will have none of that. On a 30-year diet that government is the enemy, they simply don't understand the notion of common good. Instead, it's their way or the highway. They desperately seek to be known as leaders, although their thoughtless political philosophy owes all to right-wing think tanks and nothing to their own minds. Their rhetoric is immature and irresponsible.

Their goal? To whip up fear for the personal gain of power. Congressmen like South Carolina's Tim Scott, Joe Wilson, Jeff Duncan, Trey Gowdy and Mick Mulveney are hellbent on dividing South Carolinians and America by class. Instead of a Nixonian Southern Strategy to grab power based on racial divisions, tea partiers are misleading mainstream Americans into thinking they care about their needs. In truth, they're all about protecting their millionaire donors and serving as lackeys for big corporations, both of which avoid taxes like the plague. More than anything, these congressional robots sputter what they're told so they can be reelected to sputter some more.

This tea party mess is nothing but a cynical movement to enflame and enrage, a selfish exercise that is fundamentally counter to the patriotic American ideals of justice, fairness and equality.

Patrick Henry made this observation in his “give me liberty or give me death” speech in 1775: “It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of the wise man, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty?”

Let's not have America and her ideals fall prey to the beasts of the tea party. Her cowards hope most Americans will become dupes of their paper tiger politics and un-American policies. See through this veil of deceit because as a nation, we are fortunately, better than what they offer.

Andy Brack is publisher of Statehouse Report.  He can be reached at: brack@statehousereport.com
Spotlight

S.C. Association for Justice

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Statehouse Report to you at no cost. This week's spotlighted underwriter is the South Carolina Association for Justice, a non-profit, non-partisan, professional association dedicated to advancing the rights of individuals and small businesses in the civil and criminal justice system in South Carolina. For more information about how the association works to protect individual rights and keep families safe, go to: www.scaj.com.

My Turn

Do something real

By Fritz Hollings
Former U.S. senator
Reprinted with permission


AUG. 10, 2011 – In 1993 we cut spending and raised taxes on everything – including Social Security – giving the country eight years of its strongest economy and giving President Bush a balanced budget in 2001. President Bush put the country on borrowing and steroids to the tune of $5 trillion, and President Obama has kept us on $4.5 trillion of steroids for his first three years. President Obama’s deal keeps the government on $7 trillion of steroids for the next ten years. It’s time to get off the steroids and pay for government.

We keep stimulating to create jobs. President Bush proved tax cuts don’t create jobs. Stimulation doesn’t create jobs. An infrastructure bank program would be good if we had the money. It calls for more steroids, and the roads needing repair also need to be widened. Getting the rights-of-way for the roads, and architects to redesign bridges is too slow, too weak. We’ve got to do something strong, something real. Corporate America invests and creates jobs – but now in China. We have got to make it profitable for Corporate America to create jobs in the United States.

We continue in hot wars everywhere and ignore the cold war – the economy war. Globalization is nothing more than an economy war with production looking for a country cheaper to produce. Every country competes for investment, research, technology, production and jobs except the United States. Wall Street and Corporate America want to keep the China profits flowing and the President and Congress want to keep the contributions flowing. So you don’t hear much about the economy war. But now is the time to fight.

We can get into the economy war by taking the tax benefit to off-shore jobs and give it to Corporate America to invest and create jobs in the United States. Eliminate the corporate income tax and replace it with a 6 percent value added tax. Since the average corporate tax is 23 percent, reducing it to 6 percent amounts to a tax cut. The corporate tax is not rebated on export, but the VAT is rebated, promoting exports. Immediately, the corporate CEOs and tax lawyers will howl. It puts their loophole games out of business. The VAT gets rid of loopholes, tax lawyers and lobbyists, and since the VAT is self-enforcing, we can eliminate some of the Internal Revenue Service. Last year’s corporate tax produced $194.1 billion in revenues, whereas a 6 percent VAT for 2010 produces $700 billion in revenues. Exemptions for the poor of $70 billion still leaves $630 billion to pay down the debt. And spending cuts can produce more billions to pay down the debt. With the corporate tax cancelled, $1 trillion in off-shore corporate profits becomes immediately available to invest and create jobs in the United States. So cutting taxes with a VAT takes the government off steroids, allows Corporate America to make a profit in the United States, stops the hemorrhage of off-shoring jobs, promotes exports, cuts the size of government, produces billions to pay down the debt and creates million of jobs.

"Strong economies like Germany, China, and Brazil, all have a VAT. Germany uses its 19 percent VAT to build windmills in Charleston, S. C. Manufacturing the parts at high cost in Germany so there is no tax, shipping the parts at 3 percent cost, assembling the parts at 3 percent cost, Germany produces windmills in the U. S. 13 percent cheaper than any domestic production."

But the Grover Norquists will howl: “It’s too complicated,” “it’s regressive,” “it’s a money machine.” With computers the VAT is easily installed and administered. 140 countries compete in globalization with a VAT and don’t find it “regressive” or a “money machine.” Strong economies like Germany, China, and Brazil, all have a VAT. Germany uses its 19 percent VAT to build windmills in Charleston, S. C. Manufacturing the parts at high cost in Germany so there is no tax, shipping the parts at 3 percent cost, assembling the parts at 3 percent cost, Germany produces windmills in the U. S. 13 percent cheaper than any domestic production. Since the costs of a VAT are typically higher for small business, many countries, including the United Kingdom, exempt some small businesses from the VAT. But a Government Accountability Office study in 2008 showed that the administrative cost for a VAT was lower than administering the income tax.

Now that you’ve hit the ball, follow through with two things. First, enforce our trade laws like President Kennedy enforced the War Production Act in 1961 to save the textile industry; like President Nixon imposed a 10 percent surcharge on imports in 1971 when our trade deficit was a miniscule of what it is today; like President Reagan imposed a 45 percent tariff on motorcycle imports in 1984, saving Harley-Davidson. Finally, fix the vote against any override of a veto against the continuation of the Bush tax cuts and announce that you will veto any bill that continues the Bush tax cuts.

If President Obama does these things now, he and the country can recover. But some will oppose recovery.

Fritz Hollings represented South Carolina in the United States Senate for 38 years. 

Feedback

Thanks for your journalism

To Statehouse Report:

Excellent piece [News, 8/5] on school funding or lack of it in SC. I have, along with some friends, sent it to several colleagues throughout the state. I wish I had the email address of every educator in the state so I could send it along too. It is a shame that our educators are not politically savvy. If they were, folks like Zais and DeMint would have not been elected to their positions.
  
As a former teacher who was active, I cannot figure out why no one can rally teachers. Are our teachers as bad as the students they do not graduate? I wish I knew what it takes to build fires under them! Until that happens, the Legislature will march over them and the kids every year.

Thanks for your journalism.
-- Bob Noe, Columbia, SC
Drop us a line:  We encourage you to share your opinions.  Letters to the editor are published weekly. We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity. We generally publish all comments about South Carolina politics or policy issues, unless they are libelous or unnecessarily inflammatory. One submission is allowed per month. Submission of a comment grants permission to us to reprint. Comments are limited to 250 words or less.  Please include your name and contact information.
Scorecard

Two up, one down the middle, two down

Loans. Federally-backed small business loans are on the rise across the state. More.


Money. Metro areas across the state enjoyed a better-than-national-average increase in personal income last year. More.

Health care. Those taking part in the state health insurance plan will see their premiums go up 4.5 percent, with employers covering an additional 4.5 percent: expensive, but probably better than no insurance whatsoever. More.

Tax code. According to economists, the state’s tax code is impeding the state’s economy. (That's what we've been saying for years.) More.


Love. Gov. Nikki Haley and Treasurer Curtis Loftis are fighting … again. More.
Stegelin

Late state


Also from Stegelin: 8/5 | 7/29 | 7/22 | 7/15
credits

Statehouse Report

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

Phone: 843.670.3996

© 2002 - 2018 , Statehouse Report LLC. Statehouse Report is published every Friday by Statehouse Report LLC, PO Box 22261, Charleston, SC 29413.
Excerpts from The South Carolina Encyclopedia are published with permission and copyrighted 2006 by the Humanities Council SC. Excerpts were edited by Walter Edgar and published by the University of South Carolina Press. Statehouse Report has partnered with USC Press to provide readers with this interesting weekly historical excerpt about the state. Republication is not allowed. For additional information about Statehouse Report, including information on underwriting, go to http://www.statehousereport.com/.