A sometimes irreverent look at S.C. politics
When the S.C. House passed a continuing budget resolution last week, it said it did so only to ensure that state government could operate after July 1.
That’s an issue because House and Senate budget negotiators have been unable to agree to a compromise on their differing budget bills, making a continuing resolution seem like a good, prudent idea, or so The Buzz thought.
But state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, insisted he will not allow that 46-member body – where any one single member can slow a proposal to evolutionary speed and a bloc, such as the body’s 19 Democrats, can kill an idea outright – to pass a continuing resolution.
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Why was Sheheen so adamant?
Let’s think this out again, OK?
A continuing resolution would fund state government at 2011-12 levels, more than $1 billion lower than the conflicting House and Senate budget proposals propose to spend over the next 12 months.
But, after the Great Recession, who would want to operate at those levels, particularly when state workers haven’t received a raise in years and the budgets of state agencies have been cut by hundreds of millions?
Play it out: The House passes a continuing resolution and, then, the Senate does too. And when a budget compromise, inevitably, is reached, it flies through the non-deliberative House and arrives in the Senate. There, the dozen members of the William Wallace Caucus – who oppose public education as a failed, costly social experiment and think no government is a great, viable idea – filibuster, paint their faces blue, and start carrying battle axes and shouting “Freedom!” Fact is, the Senate’s far right only would be too happy to continue to keep state spending at recessionary levels.
Eventually, the majority would sit down the Wallaces, ending the debate.
But it might be August.
Is nothing sacred, sir?
Three S.C. National Guardsmen were killed last Wednesday in Afghanistan.
A day later, the state Senate killed a government restructuring bill, favored by Gov. Nikki Haley, by failing to vote on it.
What’s the connection? None, that The Buzz can determine.
One is a horrible tragedy.
The other is politics.
However, first gentleman Michael Haley made a connection.
The husband of Gov. Haley took to his Facebook page to offer this comment: “It amazes me that in a week that we have heroes who have died fighting for our freedoms, we have cowards who are afraid to take a vote in the (S)enate.”
The Buzz only can hope that Mr. Haley, a member of the Guard, is not deployed – to the Senate.
‘I’ll be back’
Like the Terminator, would-be Lexington County coroner Frank Barron is telling supporters he’ll be back.
Barron sent an email to backers urging patience after his unsuccessful bid to oust longtime incumbent Harry Harman. Barron lost 2-1 at the June 12 Republican primary election.
“I will continue to organize and prepare for the next opportunity,” his email said.
Barron blamed his defeat mainly on lack of interest among voters in primary races that had been thinned significantly by the court-ordered removal of about 250 candidates statewide – including 19 in Lexington County – for incorrect disclosure of personal finances.
Lexington to candidates: Don’t call us,
we’ll call you
The dozen Lexington County candidates seeking to qualify as independent candidates on the Nov. 6 general election ballot are on their own when it comes to deciding if they have enough petition signatures from voters to become eligible.
County election officials have reversed course, deciding not to do preliminary checks of the petitions after being advised that doing so would be contrary to state standards.
“I’ve learned that can’t happen,” county election director Dean Crepes said of his plan to review signatures prior to a candidate turning them over for verification.
The change means candidates won’t know if they have enough signatures from eligible, registered voters until after Crepes’ staff checks those petitions, due to county officials by July 16.