Still catching up on releases sent to me via email, I ran across this rather remarkable one from Rep. Bill Taylor, a Republican from Aiken:
Unanimous Agreement !
Passage of a
Bi-Partisan State Budget
In Washington D.C. partisan bickering seems to rule. In South Carolina elected officials know how to work together for better and more efficient government. Democrat and Republican legislators joined
together in the House of Representatives to unanimously pass a state budget this week.
Be assured there were disagreements and much debate on how to wisely spend your tax money, but both sides came together to pass a balanced budget that falls well within the proposed cap on spending. It focuses on the core functions of government – education, infrastructure and law enforcement – all of which are vital to our state’s growing economy.
The spending plan also provides tax relief, pays off debt and replenishes the state’s ‘rainy day’ reserve accounts.
Headlines from the $6 billion General Fund appropriations:
- $152 million in additional funds for K-12 used in the classroom and not for educational bureaucracy.
- $180 million set aside to pay for SC’s share of the deepening of the Charleston Port, the major economic driver for SC.
- $77 million in tax relief to employers of all sizes to assist them with some relief from the high unemployment insurance costs caused by the recession.
- $549 million in tax relief; 88% of which is property tax relief that must be granted annually if the relief is to remain.
- Nearly $400 million to the Constitutional and Statutory Reserves – those funds go into our savings account for the next economic downturn – “The Rainy Day Fund’.
While the General Fund budget grows by 4.56%, this plan calls for far less spending as compared to the beginning of the recession. The increase is aimed at patching the severe cuts that have occurred in recent years in law enforcement and education. It is a fiscally conservative spending plan designed to make SC more competitive.
The Governor’s Criticism: In Governor Haley’s fly-around-the-state tour this week she promoted her idea for a one-year only tax cut benefiting major corporations. The House budget plan cuts taxes for every single SC employer, hopefully, that will stimulate hiring.
The Governor also took aim on House Republican’s 7 point comprehensive tax reform plan introduced this week. She called it “disingenuous” even though she and her staff worked with our tax reform committee over the past eight months and the legislation included everything she asked for and much more. (Read the Aiken Standard’s story on this topic.)
What’s Next for the Budget? The proposed budget heads to the Senate. If past years are any indication, senators will bloat the budget with additional spending. Please let your senator know that’s not acceptable.
Wow. First we have all the Senate Democrats voting for John Courson. Now we have a Republican — a House Republican (the most partisan kind), no less — bragging to his constituents that the budget just passed was bipartisan. Instead of the usual business of giving all the credit to the GOP and mentioning Democrats only as obstacles, if at all.
Oh never fear — the zampolits are probably rushing to censure these folks for such UnParty sentiments, denouncing them as double-plus ungood. But for now, I’m enjoying this little Prague Spring.