Republicans said ...
“We’ve got to do the kinds of things she’s talking about in order to improve the quality of education because it’s not about getting test scores and getting a magnet and putting it on the refrigerator. It’s about kids having better jobs later on. .... I don’t know if the House will pass all the things she suggested. ... But ‘no’ is not an option. We have got to figure out what we can do to improve the quality of education.”
House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston
“(Haley) still has that new car smell. I’m glad she talked on education and infrastructure that are the main issues of this session. ... I want to double down on what our infrastructure bill was last year, adding an additional $50 million reoccurring out of the general fund, and the balance of the sales tax on cars, which would be about another $40 million reoccurring. ... I know there is going to be a great debate on whether to have a fuel tax increase. She announced to the world tonight she would veto it. So, in the real world, we need to do something that we can accomplish. ... A gas tax increase this year is a nonstarter.”
Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee
“She did a good job. ... All of the House Republican Caucus members will be in favor of doing pro-active things with education. And she’s called on us to really put some thought into how we fund infrastructure, and taking the gas tax off the table will make it easier to think outside the box and find different ways to fund that. ... Are we going to be exactly on the same page as her? Probably not because there is always compromises ... as the process goes on. But, certainly, we’re going to make education a top priority.”
House Majority Leader Bruce Bannister, R-Greenville
“I appreciated what she had to say about pushing back on Obamacare. I wish there had been a component dealing with school choice. Offering educational choice in this state would go a long way to fixing our system, and it seems like she was moving towards putting more money into a system that we continue to put more money into and don’t get any better results.”
State Sen. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg, a candidate for the U.S. Senate
Democrats said ...
“She wants to now get on a bandwagon, because it’s election time, about education. ... She hasn’t done anything for education. Job growth has come from county council people and our local economic development offices. She hasn’t done anything but go around the nation promoting herself.”
Rep. John King, D-York
“Frankly, I thought it was more political than substance. ... Sen. (John) Matthews has pushed the poverty index (in education funding) for years. There was no mention of 4-year-old kindergarten, which is critical to educational improvement and moving this state into the 21st century. No mention of teacher pay raises.”
Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington
“She talked about being from Bamberg but didn’t seem to know that rural counties have a problem paying for education needs in this state. ... We wonder if she’s had her head in the sand for the past three years. ... She talked about infrastructure needs which are a billion dollars at this current time. Her plan to pay for it is hope. ... That’s not the way to run the state. That’s not leadership. ... Nobody runs their household and says we’re going to need a new roof, but we’re going to hope that God gives us the money to pay for it. ... Hope is not a business plan.”
House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland