Sunday, Sept. 4, 2005
Our friends in high places tell us the best thing we can do
to help victims of Hurricane Katrina is to donate money to
Red Cross. We encourage you to do so.
State needs to
develop sustainable energy policies
SC Statehouse Report
4, 2005 - - With gas prices shooting through the roof, state
lawmakers might want to consider ways to cut back on its reliance
on fossil fuels.
In short, the state should develop a multi-faceted sustainable
energy policy that focuses on boosting renewable energy, conserving
fuel, recycling and using common sense in energy decisions.
This is the time to do it, said former state Rep.
Harriet Keyserling of Beaufort, who pushed the state to provide
now-defunct tax incentives for renewable energy some 20 years
ago and helped to create a state energy office.
If she were queen for the day and could do anything to promote
better use of energy, what would she do?
Explore all alternatives - - tax credits as incentives, windmill
energy off the coast, improved energy efficiencies, more carpooling,
more investment in fuel efficiencies, building greener buildings.
The list goes on.
encourage your feedback. If you'd like to respond to
something in SC Statehouse Report, please
send us an e-mail. We reserve the right to edit for
length and clarity. One submission allowed per month.
Submission of a comment grants permission to us to reprint.
Please keep your comment to 250 words or less:
From a state level, there is a lot lawmakers could do - -
things that wouldnt cost much more, but would promote
conservation, energy efficiency and sustainability without
having a detrimental impact on peoples quality of life.
A few ideas:
Tax incentives for consumers. Because electricity is
relatively cheap in South Carolina compared to other states,
consumers often dont have an incentive to buy energy
efficient appliances. If there were incentives for consumers,
theyd be able to get tax credits or rebates to install
solar systems, purchase appliances that cost less to run or
build homes that were more efficient. Example: At the Sustainability
Institutes Green House in North Charleston, the upfitting
of an 840-square-foot house built in the 1940s at an affordable
cost into a passive solar energy-efficient building caused
monthly energy bills to drop from $276 to $65.
Tax incentives for businesses. Builders and developers
often dont have reasons to adopt new technologies that
will save energy, according to LS3P architect Allen Taylor.
Because they dont get a reasonable payback, they often
dont strive to build in a green manner that
could cut energy costs. If they had a little extra - - a tax
credit of some kind as in other states - - they might have
the incentive to take more steps to build better buildings.
I think its all about creating incentives for
businesses to change over to these technologies that make
sense, said the Sustainability Institutes Bryan
Leading by example. The state could mandate that new
government buildings be built to a green standard,
such as the recently-opened $10 million new elementary school
in North Charleston. Its overall cost was about 5 percent
more than a traditionally-built school, but with its daylighting,
conservation and other features, the school should recoup
the higher costs in a relatively short time.
Create green standards. The state could also create
green standards so that builders could label green construction
to let consumers know that it met a certain energy efficiency
Provide incentives to lower product costs. Architect
John Ciccarelli of Mount Pleasants McKellar & Associates,
which designed the North Charleston school, said it would
help to give a boost to businesses that created green products
with some kind of incentive for investors.
For a lot of these products, theres really not
anything against using them other than they arent available
or they are too costly, he said.
More education. Keyserling said one of the best things
that could be done would be to provide more funding for the
state energy office so it could conduct educational outreach
to help consumers know more about green alternatives.
Incentives for farmers. If the state wanted to go really
green, it could provide incentives to farmers to grow corn
or other crops for alternative fuels, such as ethanol or biodiesel.
Such home-grown energy could cut dependence on
foreign oil through a renewable source.
More recycling. The state could develop strategies
to encourage more recycling.
Bottom line: There are myriad strategies South Carolina could
develop to become less tied to fossil fuels. Some smart politician
has a real opportunity to push the bandwagon to make it happen.
Otherwise, well all keep paying the price.
Another great cartoon from Bill McLemore:
LEARN MORE DAILY
best way to get South Carolina news is to augment your morning
paper and TV show with SC Clips, a daily executive
news summary compiled from more than 30 state newspaper and
TV sources. It's delivered every business day and is packed
with news of statewide impact, politics, business and more.
Subscriptions are affordable at $30 per month -- and less
for business subscribers. More: SC
Contrition follows attack
To the editor:
You never miss a chance to downgrade the president of the
USA, In all your report he is to be blamed for most everything
that goes wrong in the country, In your next article I expect
that he will be blamed for the Hurricane that hit LA.
As to the volunteers program that you think he should start,
lets say you and I do it this way. You list the names of all
your kinfolk from about 8 to 75 and get the commitment from
them for the 8 hours, then with this list in hand I will be
able to go to mine and say look what Andy is doing lets match
him, with that as a start we might be able to move some of
the people of SC.(please post the names and hours volunteered
in the State Paper)
-- Julius L. Brown, Hartsville, S.C.
EDITOR'S NOTE: When it was pointed
out to Mr. Brown that last week's column was the first that
we can recall that mentioned President Bush and that Brack
volunteered at least eight hours a month with three service
organizations, Brown backed down with this comment:
"I seldom write a letter Mr. Brack,
and if I missed judged you I am sorrow, but as I remember
most of what I read from you is negative, whether state
or national, I will continue to read your column and determine
if I missed judged you, but I hear so much negative about
the president of the US it gets to me."
tax isn't fair
My response is related to your commentary on property taxes
in the Hartsville "Messenger" (See
Commentary, 8/21). I am a college graduate with a
professional career over my years of employment. I will be
retiring over the next year and a half. I am not basing my
concerns with rising property taxes because I am nearing retirement.
I do not object to factoring property taxes into the tax base,
as long as it is truly equitable. I do not feel it is any
longer a "Fair" tax as administered and as you quoted
in your article.
I also support education but do not feel the property tax
should be the sole basis, in most part for funding. Education
administrators and local boards feel they have an endless
means of monetary resource support by upping the Mils as they
Your article appears to be politically slanted in favor of
business and pro business supporters such as the Chamber of
Commerce and certain economist such as quoted in your article.
Yes, the shift would affect the higher income people. It is
also affecting the middle and lower income people who have
worked to buy these homes, etc. and who have remained on a
We have a large segment of people who do not own property
but have children in our schools that are not contributing
to the financial base to support the educational system, very
The sales tax options and other options recommended would
spread the cost of education over a more equitable basis.
I am an active VOTER and look to my representatives to do
something to make the property tax "fairer" and
more equitable, preferably eliminated.
-- Ron McElhannon, Hartsville, S.C.
To the editor:
Yes, America is
divided over many issues at the present time, but none as
divisive as the Iraq War.
Despite the attack on Pearl Harbor, which put us at war with
Japan, and the subsequent declaration of war against America
by Nazi Germany, by late 1944 the country was becoming disenchanted
with the mounting caualty rates and the diprivations caused
by gasoline and food rationing. Yet we re-elected Franklin
Roosevelt for a fourth term.
Unlike Roosevelt, George Bush is a lame duck president who
has squandered his power to unite the country with his ill-advised
and badly executed war in Iraq (it's going to be a hard three
years for the President and the country).
-- Warner B. Huck, Hilton Head Island, SC
To the editor:
Would you please tell me how you expect President Bush unite
the American People when your democratic friends continue
smashing, bashing, calling him evil names, etc.? This thing
of unification works both ways. Talk to Sen. Kennedy, Howard
Dean and all of their left wing crazies to help the president
and not continue their left wing rhetoric.
-- Calbert W. Johnson, Bishopville, S.C.
learning is growing
To the editor:
As a fresh breeze in summer heat, this column (Commentary,
8/28) carries freshness and invigorating encouragement.
At Seton Hall I teach a graduate course mainly for teachers,
entitled Jewish and Christian Foundations for Social Service.
Service learning is a growing phenomenon in schools today.
visit several sites where such social service programs are
the permanent residence hotel for people with schizophrenia
homeless people) in New York. One graduate of the Jewish-Christian
Studies program is a teacher in a Hebrew school, who initiated
a program with her students, of designing, building and maintaining
(over five years now) a community garden in Flemington, NJ.
Such programs bring people of various faiths and political
persuasions together for meaningful enterprises. I especially
appreciate your initiative in this regard. I'll share your
commentary with my students this fall with the firm belief
that it will
rally troops to this constructive cause.
-- Prof. David Bossman, Seton Hall University and part-time
assessment of problem,
Richard J. Mullin, Asheville, N.C.
needed to property taxes, Dr. Erwin E. Lambert, Georgetown,
flawed, Michael E. Dey, Vice President of
Government Affairs, South Carolina Association of REALTORS®,
the point on property tax,
Rick Davenport, Dataw Island, S.C.
taxes too high, Chris Walton, Hilton
Head Island, S.C.
all homeowners are investors,
Gary Smith, Hilton Head Island, SC
taxes aren't fair, David Whetsell,
aren't meant to be fair, Former
S.C. state legislator, name withheld upon request.
Medicaid approach is hocus-pocus, Laura Morris, Mount
This section tracks past forecasts by Statehouse Report
with other media reports:
In Statehouse Report:
8/14/05: 8/14/05: Medicaid
plan looks risky, costly:
"Some may admire the
Sanford administration for trying to do something about
Medicaid, but at this point, the proposal seems like
it has too much of a chance of hurting the poor, elderly
and children. They shouldn't be experimental subjects
to test a Republican political theory...Go back to the
drawing board. "
In the Charleston City Paper
wants the poor to develop more character by spending
money they don't have: "What The Eye doesnt
get is that most of these fiscal conservative types
who want to rid the nation of the menace of social programs
characterize themselves as Christians. The
Eye finds that they choose to ignore Christs essential
directives to feed the hungry, comfort the afflicted,
clothe the naked, and visit the imprisoned when they
rationalize their legislative aims by declaiming choice
and personal responsibility. And
as for Mark Sanford, mused The Eye, somebody needs to
remind him that poverty is not a character flaw.
SOUTH CAROLINA SCORECARD
Here's a "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" related to various
political events from the past week:
Graham. Hats off to U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.,
for calling for congressional hearings on oil company profits
as gas prices soared out of control.
SAT. The state's SAT scores, while still at the bottom,
continue to go up, which indicates the schools are getting
Ethics Commission. Remember just a couple of months
ago when the State Ethics Commission said it would take months
to get an online campaign disclosure system ready? All of
the criticism that floated its way apparently got the commission
off the pot. The system will start in January for constitutional
Clyburn, Coble. U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-SC, and Columbia
Mayor Bob Coble are to be congratulated for trying to help
hurricane victims in Columbia.
Cigarette tax. Now that NC has raised its cigarette
tax, SC has the lowest tax in the nation. Guys -- when are
you going to wake up and raise the tax to generate revenues
to shore up health costs?
Sanford. The governor was a week past the deadline
to send a letter of support for a new nuclear facility in
Aiken. Doesn't seem like the guy can get it together.
Hollings. Didn't Michael Hollings check out the law
before he announced he was going to run for lieutenant governor?
What was he thinking?
How you can subscribe to the full edition
of the report
The above version of S.C. Statehouse Report is the
free edition. Our paid version, which costs about $100 per
month, offer a weekly legislative forecast packed with information
that can keep you and your business on the cutting edge.
Notes veteran lawmaker Sen. Glenn McConnell: "Statehouse
Report gives an inside practical report of weekly problems
with and progress of legislation. It reviews the whole landscape."
In each issue of Statehouse Report, you'll get::
Hot issue -- an early peek at weekly commentary
on something really big. Last year, we continually beat
other news organizations in finding major trends in issues,
from teacher and budget cuts to wetlands proposals.
Agenda -- a weekly forecast of the coming week's
Radar Screen -- a behind-the-scenes look at what's
really going on in the General Assembly
McLemore's World -- an early view of our respected
cartoonist Bill McLemore.
Tally Sheet -- a weekly review of all of the new
bills introduced in the legislature in everyday language
Scorecard -- A Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down of major
political/policy events for the week.
Calendar -- a weekly list of major meetings for
the House, Senate and state agencies.
Megaphone -- a quote of the week that you'll find
To learn more about subscriptions, contact Andy Brack at: