Opinions from around South Carolina: ethics oversight, road funding, Office on Aging

July 13, 2014 

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FILE PHOTO — THE STATE

Others Say

Editorials from elsewhere

Ethics oversight

The fact that the House Ethics Committee investigates and adjudicates complaints against their colleagues is a flawed system, at best.

Having the House Ethics Committee handle a case involving the most powerful individual in the House would have been even worse.

Changes to that system should have been at the center of any meaningful ethics reform by the General Assembly in its recent session.

Unfortunately, the Legislature failed to advance that provision in its ethics reform bill. And then a Senate filibuster at the end of the session killed the bill altogether.

By its unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court has put the complaint against Mr. Harrell in the proper forum.

And it has ensured that legislators aren’t altogether a protected class when it comes to ethics.

Post and Courier

Charleston

Road funding

South Carolina needs a meaningful plan to improve our roads, not just the vague promise of a plan after the election. (Gov. Nikki) Haley also needs to drop her blind refusal to even consider raising the gasoline tax to meet this critical state need.

South Carolina has one of the lowest state gasoline taxes in the nation. The national average is more than 31 cents per gallon. South Carolina’s tax is less than 17 cents per gallon.

If the state were to raise the tax, experts say that 34 percent of the revenue raised would come from residents of other states just passing through South Carolina and filling up.

It simply makes no sense not to take advantage of this revenue stream to improve our roads, prevent more wear and tear on our vehicles, improve our safety and build our economic future. South Carolina needs a real plan, not merely the promise of one.

Herald-Journal

Spartanburg

Office on Aging

Changes in funding for senior programs around the state have left some senior citizens without services they have enjoyed. This situation provides a good opportunity to revisit a needed change in structure to the state agency that provides services to our state’s growing senior population.

South Carolina is the only state in the country in which an agency such as the Office on Aging is overseen by the lieutenant governor. The current oversight structure was created in 2004, and the decision was not a sound one even then. A part-time administration official with primarily legislative duties was given authority over a state agency. The structure offers very little accountability for an agency that serves a growing population. 

Legislators could fix this agency by taking control of it away from a part-time official and creating a legitimate agency director who reports directly to the governor.

Greenville News

Food for Thought

•  “To me faith means not worrying.”

John Dewey

Inspiration

•  “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

2 Timothy 1:7

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