Articles by: Andy Brack

Worker clean up sand on an Edisto Island street that was washed ashore by Hurricane Irma. (SCDOT photo.)

BRACK: Be better prepared for storms with new disaster fund

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   Maybe it’s time to start being more proactive fiscally with the natural disasters that seem to be more frequent in the Palmetto State.

Regardless of the cause — Mother Nature, climate change or the wrath of God — the flooding in the Midlands and Pee Dee in 2015, Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Irma this year have been expensive propositions.

While state and local officials already get specialized training ahead of disasters to be prepared, state government doesn’t budget for storm costs in advance.  Instead, it pays the bill long after the storm or disaster has passed.

by · 09/15/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
S.C. emergency management officials at work on Sept. 7 in Columbia.  S.C. Adjutant Gen. Bob Livingston is dressed in camouflage at the top left.  Photo provided.

BRACK:  What government gets right and what needs more help

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  With a storm breathing down the state’s neck, people turn to state and local governments for leadership, safety and solutions.  While government gets scrutiny year-round, maybe we should look at what’s working so we appreciate it more – and examine what may need some help so that it works better.

What seems to work

Revenue.  The taxman knows how to collect state sales and income taxes efficiently.

Motor Vehicles.  It used to be a nightmare to get a driver’s license.  Now, it’s not.

by · 09/07/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
BRACK:  Let’s take a new middle road on Confederate monuments

BRACK:  Let’s take a new middle road on Confederate monuments

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   Mention the word “Confederate” these days and you sound like you’re itching for an argument.  It shouldn’t be that way.

For months across the South, there have been calls to remove Confederate monuments or to rename buildings or streets honoring long dead Confederate soldiers.  At the same time, others have said to leave the statues and names alone.

But last month in Charlottesville, Va., everything changed.  During a white nationalist rally over the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, a car plowed through a crowd, killing a 32-year woman.  Violence ensued between white nationalists and counter-protesters.  More than 30 were injured.  The governor declared a state of emergency.  A nation was stunned – and got mad.

by · 09/01/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
MYSTERY PHOTO:  Reflection of the past

MYSTERY PHOTO:  Reflection of the past

With lots of talk in recent weeks about statues and memorials – see more in publisher Andy Brack’s new commentary – what and where is this reflection of the past?  Is it important?  Send your best guess to:  feedback@statehousereport.com and make sure to include your name and hometown.  If possible, write “Mystery Photo” in the subject line.

by · 09/01/2017 · Features, Mystery Photo
BRACK: Redrawing political lines is best hope for better legislature

BRACK: Redrawing political lines is best hope for better legislature

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   State lawmakers have the power to alter the way the legislature works to make it more representative of all South Carolina and, in turn, boost the potential for compromise and better outcomes for taxpayers.

But to do so, they’ll have to do something that’s very hard – hold their egos and political futures in check by redrawing district lines that are more competitive and less self-serving.

by · 08/25/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
David Beasley speaks with a boy in Uganda in June.  Photo: WFP/Claire Nevill.  Used with permission.

BRACK:   Beasley is S.C.’s Jimmy Carter in fight against world hunger

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  David Beasley is having the time of his life.

The former South Carolina governor, who has spent almost two decades since being in office in mission work to help people around the world, now is executive director of the United Nations’ World Food Programme.

“The good news is we’re feeding 80 million people on any given day in 80 countries,” he said this week in an exclusive interview on the way to Central America.  “The bad news is it’s getting worse out there – the famine, the droughts, the conflicts.”

by · 08/18/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
BRACK:   The General Assembly isn’t filled with policy Einsteins

BRACK:   The General Assembly isn’t filled with policy Einsteins

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   The list of recent big policy failures by the South Carolina General Assembly is downright impressive.

First is transportation infrastructure, which got into a deplorable condition during the 28 years it took state lawmakers to raise the gas tax so it could deal with $40 billion of highway needs, potholes, bridges and deferred maintenance.  At least they finally boosted the gas sales tax this year to start fixing the problem.  But they’ll have to come back to it because they didn’t index the sales tax hike to inflation.

Next is the state’s pension system for employees, which rang in as a $24 billion problem.  A few years back, lawmakers decided to raise the expected return on investment to a completely unrealistic level.  As a result – and in combination with the Great Recession and a whole bunch of really bad investment decisions – the value of the pension fund sank like a lead balloon.

by · 08/11/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
FEEDBACK:  Text of the week

FEEDBACK:  Text of the week

SENN:  Andy Im  just getting around to reading old newspapers. As you may know I have always been a Henry supporter. But to say that the female candidate “charmed her way into the wallets of republican businessmen” rather than she earned their respect enough to give her money is totally sexist! And here I thought Liberals were not supposed to be sexist!

by · 08/11/2017 · Commentary, Feedback