South Carolina Citizen Journal

September 29, 2009

Governor’s office takes stimulus money

Filed under: Ethics, Federal, Sanford, South Carolina — NotforHire @ 5:47 am

I am curious to know what the Governor’s office is doing with the $13.9 million in stimulus money that it took.

Anybody? Bueller?

And the Lt. Governor’s office took $419,000? Can we get an accounting for this 14 million dollars?

March 29, 2009

State debt, Government

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Economy, Ethics, legislature, Sanford, South Carolina, Taxes — NotforHire @ 9:12 am

Well, with all the expansion of government spending and cutting of taxes over the last decade in our state, I just assumed that South Carolina had paid off any outstanding debt at the state level.

So imagine my suprise when our governor asks the federal government if we can use 700 million dollars of federal money to pay off state debt.

It is time for the South Carolina legislature and the governor, whoever maybe in office, to get better at managing our states affairs. Much better.

South Carolina citizens demand a lean yet strong state government, aimed at providing excellent services and infrastructure, with a  tax structure that does not overly burden, but that keeps us ahead of the game, meaning paying off our debt(ourselves) and eventually funding our own rainy day, or sovereign fund. Government waste and fraud have to become  things of the past by necessity.

We can neither afford a fat, bloated government loaded with pet projects and other unnecceary spending, nor a weak underfunded central government which is unable to keep its own britches from falling around its ankles. With all the push me-pull you antics going on, what we’ve ended up with is a wasteful, bloated government that still can’t keep its pants up, and that should be unacceptable- to the governor, to the legislature, and to the people.

January 13, 2009

Sanford and the bailout

Filed under: Economy, Federal, Sanford — NotforHire @ 1:04 pm

Wait, somethings up with the economy? Really? I’m pretty sure, if we keep it quiet, no one will notice that the U.S. economy has been completely run into the ground.

Governor Sanford seems, with his recent statements against the huge federal bailouts, to perhaps be positioning himself for a run at the presidency. Well that is all fine and well for him as a citizen, but as Governor of our state what he needs to be doing is positioning us to get a good share of what will be coming down the pipeline from Washington. I’m not saying that I wholly disagree with his position- you can’t solve a debt problem with more debt, but the Democrats and the Republicans, who have shared power in this country for decades, and are both culpable  in creating this disaster, will certainly do their best to spend there way out of it.

So what the Governor(and the legislature) should be doing, instead of posturing against the inevitable, is coming up with a plan to use this money to transform our infrastructure to prepare us for what will surely be a tumultuous and challenging 21st century.

Hey, that, or we could just use all the money to repave all our roads a couple of times.

Sanford and the Unemployment Commission

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Federal, legislature, Sanford, South Carolina, Taxes — NotforHire @ 1:02 pm

Well, I have to hand it to our Governor. It was a joke, saying he would not request the federal money to fund our states unemployment commission, but it looks like he might be successful in getting the four person board eliminated and the director put directly under the executive branch. That’s not bad.

What needs to be looked at though is why the fund was losing money in 2007, and a proper funding formula put in place for the future.

December 17, 2008

South Carolina Wind

Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, legislature, Sanford, South Carolina — NotforHire @ 6:16 am

Looking at a wind map of the United States, you can see that our state, in the far northwestern corner, just happens to have a small swath of world class wind that is there for the harvesting.

It would be a small part of our state’s energy mix, but we should move to create as large a wind farm as possible there, without delay.

December 11, 2008

Sanford Tax Plan

Filed under: Sanford, South Carolina, Taxes — NotforHire @ 12:17 pm

First, where is the increase in the gasoline tax? The Governor has really dropped the ball on this issue.

Second, an increase in the cigarette tax should definitely be implemented.

Third, ending the tax holiday for school supplies does not show much support for our students and educators.

Fourth, a $3 a ton increase in the tipping fee at landfills is not a bad idea, particularly if it will discourage out of state trash being dumped in our landfills. They do have to last us.

Fifth, South Carolina’s corporate income tax is already relatively low. The idea of eliminating it entirely, while intriguing, would not allow for selective corporate tax incentives which enable our state to attract business and industry that we deem desirable to the long term health of our state’s economy.

Sixth, income tax reform. Our current high bracket of 7% puts South Carolina somewhere in the middle with regard to the rest of the states. The Governor’s proposal to reduce our highest bracket to a flat 3.65 percent is slightly overreaching, but the flat tax aspect is a step in the right direction. We should look at doing away with deductions entirely, for all of the tax brackets.  A simplified tax code will help streamline government and reduce costs to businesses and individuals.

Lastly, the Palmetto Institute‘s call for an independent commission to review our state’s tax system should not be ignored.

November 8, 2008

Budget & Control Board 8% Decision

Filed under: Economy, Sanford, South Carolina — NotforHire @ 10:08 am

Without having done any analysis of my own, I am initially disappointed in the Budget & Control Board’s recent decision not to lower the expected return on investment from 8% to 7.25% as Governor Sanford had advised. I personally would love to see 8% returns on my own investments, but right now it ain’t happening, so I am ready to see how the people managing our state’s investment funds are going to acheive that.

The Governor’s point about the market showing a 5.3% gains over a 100 year period should also not be lost on the public in this matter.

I am also disappointed in the media’s coverage of this decision. The board’s decision was 4 to 1, but in no paper is mentioned who the dissenting votes were cast by. Just to back up a little, the Budget and Control Board is made up of:

1. Governor, Mark Sanford

2. State Treasurer, Converse Chellis

3. Comptroller General, Richard Eckstrom

4. Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Hugh Leatherman

5. Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, Daniel Cooper

I am very interested in what information was driving the decisions of the four people to put the return on our state’s investments at 8%, particularly the Treasurer and the Comptroller, and I’m not sure why in depth statements from these people were not published in the press regarding the issue.

I would also be interested in a statement from the Budget & Control Board’s Director, Frank Fusco regarding the issue if he played any role in the decision.

Again, without having the financial information in front of me, I think that Governor Sanford’s approach was the conservative way to go, and that the board’s decision was a more liberal way of going regarding the management of our state’s funds.

January 30, 2008

Keep South Carolina Ports for South Carolina

The South Carolina Ports Authority is in the news again. Containers coming through our system dropped 11 percent in 2007. Somehow this drop in cargo should be answered with an expansion of the Charleston port, but no one is explaining why an expansion is a good answer to a drop in demand. Obviously we have capacity to spare at this point. Perhaps we need to update the facilities to attract business, I’m not sure.

There are a couple of things that I am sure of. One is, any call for privatizing the state ports is a bad idea. Sovereign funds have been in the news a lot lately. They’ve been buying up a lot of U.S. banking concerns recently, among other things. This is relevant in a couple of ways.

First, I don’t think we want a Middle Eastern sovereign fund buying up our state’s ports. Or the Germans or the Russians. Oh, maybe the Communist Chinese, I hear they run an excellent port system in Hong Kong.

Second, there is nothing wrong with South Carolina having its own Sovereign fund. A fund that the state, i.e. the citizens of South Carolina own. Right now our ports are probably the crowning jewel of our state’s sovereign fund, one of which I am quite proud of, and I’m not interested in selling it off to any foreign(out of state) concerns.

If the ports need better management, or more legislative help to facilitate improving the infrastructure then I’m all for it. But when you call for the selling off of one of our signature assets to foreign investors whose sole goal is to extract the most amount of profit from our state as possible and take it elsewhere, then I have to say I’m against it.

Keep South Carolina ports for South Carolina.

December 17, 2007

South Carolina Powerball is economic “Powerdrain”

Filed under: Economy, legislature, Sanford, South Carolina — Tags: , , , , , — NotforHire @ 2:47 pm

There was a well balanced article in The State Sunday about the South Carolina Education Lottery. I for one see both the pros and cons of a state run lottery, but I don’t have a particular ethical dilemma with the system. I have even been known to play the lottery from time to time, it being my little donation to our state school system.

One area the article did not address is, what is the net effect of the multistate powerball game on the wealth of our state? It seems that while good for increased funding of education, it is in fact a net loss of wealth to our state. I mean, if we’re watching $50 million flow out of the state for every $10 million going to education, then that hardly seems like a lottery structure that is good for the state of South Carolina.

I put in a call to SC Education Lottery to get the specific dollar figures and was referred to the Multistate Lottery Association, which runs Powerball. This was disappointing because I’d like to think that the people running things on our end would know the answer to a question directly concerning the financial health of our own state. Apparently that is not the case.

I called the Multistate Lottery Association but was also unable to get an answer to my question.

I think it’s time for the Governor’s office and perhaps the legislature to look into this matter and expose SC Education Lottery’s involvement in Powerball for what it really is, a huge “Powerdrain” on our economy and the wealth of our state.

December 14, 2007

Governor Sanford hits home run with land conservation proposal

Filed under: Economy, Environment, legislature, Sanford, South Carolina, Uncategorized — NotforHire @ 2:06 pm

Governor Sanford’s proposal to budget an additional $50 million for land conservation is an outstanding move. He is correct when he says, “If you develop every square inch around each one of the metropolitan areas of this state, one of the inevitable byproducts is a deterioration of the quality of life that people experience in this state.”(Post&Courier, 12.11.07)

But it is not just for quality of life, but for the long term economic health of the state that makes this proposal imperative. Politicians in this state need to start asking themselves what needs to be done to make the 21st century South Carolina’s century. What needs to be done to ensure that South Carolina continues to improve economically and continues to build the wealth and increase the well being of its citizens, not just in the short term but in the long term as well.

Mark Sanford, in this proposal, embodies these ideals and is taking the long view as to what is best for our state.

Dan Cooper, House Ways and Means committee Chairman says of the proposal, “If we have $50 million, I’d rather we invest it in something that is going to produce jobs for the state.’’ (The State, 12.11.07) Dan Cooper, in this instance, does not seem to have his eyes on the prize, which is knowing that fully funding the Conservation Land Bank will create jobs. Developers and investors will want to build and invest in areas that have a higher incidence of preserved land, and the quality of development and investment will be higher as well.

As our population continues to rise, nothing is going to pay dividends to the citizens of our state in increased wealth and well being like the proposed increase in funding of the Conservation Land Bank. Open land is and should continue to be one of our states greatest resources, and the time to preserve it is now, before it is too late. Remember, wealth goes to where the quality of life is good, and doesn’t stick around when it turns bad. One simple key to keeping it good is the full funding of the Conservation Land Bank.

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