Haley’s Influence on Restructuring

Snookered by Haley

Friends of South Carolina,

Much is being made of the restructuring bill that just came out of the Senate, H3066.

The Governor and many Senators are claiming victory saying that this is a huge step forward for South Carolina.

In fact, the Governor is portraying herself as having fought hard for this victory.

The truth is far from what is being reported.

What we asked for with H3066 is a government structure that limits power and focuses responsibility and accountability with either the legislature or the executive branch.

The measures we asked for would have saved the taxpayers money and given us a future filled with opportunity for prosperity.

What we got was very different.

Here is a quick rundown of what we asked for compared to what we got according to an analysis and review just release by the South Carolina Policy Council.

Review it below and then ask yourself, is H3066 something to crow about?

I think you’ll agree with me, we got snookered!

Citizens asked for legislators to publicly debate and vote on every bond they authorized, thus making them responsible for the debt our state incurs.

Instead, the Senate created a new hybrid board (just like the Budget and Control Board) to split the authority to authorize state debt; continuing to shirk their responsibility for indebting taxpayers.

Citizens asked for legislators to come back into session and make responsible cuts in the event of a revenue shortfall in mid-year. Citizens wanted lawmakers to face the public for their choices and be held accountable.

Instead, lawmakers gave themselves the option to do nothing and allow an unelected, unaccountable state employee the authority to make mid-year budget cuts.

Citizens asked for lawmakers to mandate regular objective and public audits of all state agencies by the Legislative Audit Council on a schedule that is independently determined – not a schedule set by politicians.

Instead, The Senate broadened its power through legislative “investigative committees” – which have the authority to question and depose not only state employees, but private citizens if they deem them to have relevant information.

In addition, decisions regarding which agencies are “investigated” are left up to legislative leaders – the same ones who control most of state government already.

The public cannot be confident these politicians will investigate the agencies they control the same way they would the agencies the governor controls.

Citizens asked that the responsibility for issuing state contracts lie with one person whom the citizens of South Carolina could hold accountable if there was any wrongdoing or negligence in the process.

Instead, The Senate created a mixed system of doling out state contracts.

One third of state contracts being given out by the Department of Administration and the other two thirds by a three person panel, allowing politicians to avoid the full responsibility.

Citizens asked for the chairman of the Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) to be appointed by the governor with advice and consent of the senate.

Instead, the Senate created a BEA chairman who reports not only to the governor, but also directly to legislative leaders that are not elected statewide and who write the state’s budget based off the BEA’s forecast.

None of the citizen’s requests were fully implemented!

And the Governor and Senators are calling this a great day for South Carolina?

No. Instead it’s a great day for the power brokers in our government who have managed to keep their power over state contracts, procurement, and debt without responsibility for the same.

So, how did this happen and who is responsible?

Well, let’s start at the top!

Actions and words must match.  The Governor’s actions, within the walls of the State House, do not match her public words.

The Governor’s staff confirmed to me that last year, the Governor worked with Leatherman and others to develop the first version of H3066, which, if you can imagine it, was even worse than this version.

The original version, passed out of the House with great fanfare from the Governor, DIDN’T EVEN ELIMINATE THE BUDGET AND CONTROL BOARD!

You remember, the Budget and Control Board is the five member board that runs state government that is nearly impossible to hold accountable!

The reason, they said, was that she didn’t think it was possible to get the legislature to eliminate it.

Really?  When the citizens of South Carolina demanded that the Senate eliminate the Budget and Control Board with an amendment to H3066, the Senate passed that amendment UNANIMOUSLY!

But, here is the worst part.  When we told our Senators, that we wanted them to amend H3066 to eliminate the Budget and Control Board, she lobbied them against it, calling our amendment a poison pill.

I have confirmation from multiple Senators that she actively, personally, lobbied them against the amendment that eliminated the Budget and Control Board.

Leatherman himself spent the first several weeks of session this year on the floor of the Senate belly-aching about how his deal with the Governor was not being implemented because of the amendment that eliminated the Budget and Control Board.

If that was all she did, it would be bad enough.

However, when Senator Tom Davis put up an amendment this year that would have put 100% of procurement in the executive branch, just like we asked for, Haley again lobbied against it.

As I watched, she had a personally signed letter delivered to every Senator on the floor of the Senate in which she asked them to support a weaker amendment, 107, that only put one third of procurement under the executive branch.

It looks like Haley doesn’t want the accountability for procurement under the executive branch.  Her actions don’t match her words!

She said, in the letter, that she would like all procurement under the executive branch; however, she said nothing about supporting Senator Davis’ amendment that would have actually done just that.

Why wouldn’t she lobby for the better amendment?

Why didn’t she stand up for what the people want?

Isn’t that what she was elected for?

Further, as Senator Davis argued for other amendments later that day which would have fully implemented the reform and restructuring that we clearly asked for, her staff was informing the Senators who opposed those amendments that they were free and clear to fight against him.

In fact, the last paragraph of her letter to the Senators says, “Finally, I urge you to oppose any efforts to attach any unrelated provisions to this bill”.

Was she asking the Senators to oppose anything that she didn’t specifically ask for in her letter?  It isn’t very clear, but it sure seems that is what she intended.

Didn’t she campaign on holding our legislator’s feet to the fire?

Isn’t that what she promised us as she campaigned across the state?

Why is she betraying the trust that the people have given her?  Only she can answer that question.

All I can report are the facts…  I can’t say what her motivation is.

I don’t know of any citizen’s group who was asking our elected officials to pass weak reform or to maintain the status quo.

So just who were they forced to compromise with?

They “compromised” with each other to maintain as much power and influence as they could while diffusing and obscuring responsibility and accountability as much as they could.

It is not acceptable!

We don’t have the reform we asked for.

This is not a huge step forward for South Carolina.

With the strengthening of the laws regarding the legislators’ discretion with their investigation committees, it might even be a step backward regarding separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches.

We are not quite through with the Senate just yet.  I have one more request for you regarding the Senate, which I’ll send you in a following e-mail.  So be on the lookout for it.

For now, it is time to turn our sights on the South Carolina House of Representatives.

They will be considering H3066 next, since it was amended by the Senate.

We still have a chance to amend H3066 so that it gives us a government structure that limits power and focuses responsibility and accountability with either the legislature or the executive branch.

We can still get the measures that would save the taxpayers money and give us a future filled with opportunity for prosperity.

Contact your Representative and ask him or her to make sure H3066 gets amended to fully implement the recommendations of the South Carolina Policy Council.  Those recommendations are repeated in their analysis of H3066.

You can find your Representative and his or her contact information here.

Call today.  They need to hear from you loud and clear that there is no victory in the current version of H3066.

It is not what we want!

It may even be a step backwards.

Sincerely,

Talbert Black Jr.

P.S. Remember, the South Carolina Policy Council’s analysis of the government restructuring bill, H3066, shows that it is not even close to what the citizens of South Carolina asked for.

It’s bad enough that our Senators ignored us, it’s even worse that our own Governor lobbied against us.

H3066 is going back to the House, since it has been amended by the Senate.  Please contact your Representative today and ask him or her to fully implement the recommendations of the South Carolina Policy Council.  Those recommendations are outlined in their analysis of the bill found here.

You can find your Representative and his or her contact information here.

About Talbert Black

Talbert Black Jr is the founder of Palmetto Liberty PAC. His education in state politics & citizen lobbying began in 1999 with his membership in GrassRoots GunRights SC. In 2008 he joined the Campaign for Liberty and within a year he was the Interim State Coordinator for South Carolina. His goal for Palmetto Liberty PAC is to change to composition of South Carolina’s General Assembly so that it consistently supports conservative principles.

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  1. Spartanburg Tea Party » Gov Haley’s Influence on Restructuring - February 18, 2012

    […] Talbert Black who had a front and center seat this week watching the restructuring bill unfold in the Senate, and who regularly chats with Senators, brings us this report. […]