A friend this morning alerted me to the fact that on his LinkedIn page, Christian Soura — the governor’s mysterious dollar-a-year man — does look young enough to be 32. (His job, on that same profile, is listed as “Executive Director at South Carolina Center for Transforming Government.” The governor’s office is not mentioned. Hey, if the gov were only paying me a buck a year, I wouldn’t mention her, either.)
OK, so that still leaves us wondering how he was receiving a state pension from Pennsylvania.
Yes, I know they’re much more into what our governor would term Big Government in Pennsylvania. The taxes are higher, and they have taxes yet unthought-of in SC. Pause for an anecdote…
Fred Mott used to be publisher at The State. He’s the publisher who made me the editorial page editor, which tells you that he’s a great guy to work for, and a splendid judge of character. But boy, did we used to have some arguments over politics at editorial board meetings. And a constant course of disagreement was Fred’s insistence that taxes were relatively high in South Carolina. I’d give him stats to the contrary, and he’d just give his patented dismissive wave and keep on believing what he believed. (The “emotional center” — to use a favorite phrase of an editor I once worked with — of this for Fred, I believe, was that he had previously lived in Florida and there was no state income tax in Florida, and there was one in SC, so taxes in SC were therefore higher…)
Then Fred left here and went to work in Philadelphia. He lived in the ‘burbs, but worked in the city. I will always cherish the first phone conversation I had with Fred after he moved up there. He said, “I’ll never again say that taxes are high in South Carolina.” The emotional center of this change of mind was that he was required to pay a tax for living outside the city but working inside it, which really rankled.
Anyway, they have more and higher taxes, and they provide services that we don’t even think about here. (They are also proud — and this is hard to take in for a South Carolinian — of having been in the forefront of the public-employee union movement that the governor of Wisconsin is trying to roll back.) So maybe they do have retirement benefits so awesome that you can start getting them at 32.
But this still seems a little unlikely. There’s still a puzzle here. I look forward to learning more.