Politics & Government

The Buzz: Chellis does his best Scrooge - politely

A state employee passed The Buzz a note this week that was included with paychecks.

State Treasurer Converse Chellis thanked state employees for their work along with their earnings. Good move, bad timing.

"Thank you for your service to our state ... all the best to you and your family for a safe, prosperous and healthy New Year," Chellis wrote.

But Chellis' note arrived one day after playing Scrooge on the State Budget and Control Board.

Chellis, worried about a $98 million deficit left over from the budget year that closed June 30, asked for a larger across-the-board cut than legislative members Sen. Hugh Leatherman and Rep. Dan Cooper felt was necessary. Chellis found support from Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom and Gov. Mark Sanford, and the measure passed 3-2.

Leatherman noted after the meeting that the larger cut was likely to mean more furloughs or job cuts for state employees.

But to The Buzz, Chellis seemed more worried about another deficit - his vote total in a Republican primary next year.

Chellis has yet to win a statewide election - lawmakers elected him Treasurer after former officeholder Thomas Ravenel was charged with cocaine distribution and resigned in 2007. Tuesday's maneuver provides Chellis the perfect blurb to add to campaign materials next year and fight off claims from a Tea Party or other challenge from the right that he was part of the free-spending Legislature before becoming Treasurer.

Humbug!

S.C.: Quit wasting time on Sanford

A majority of South Carolinians, 51 percent, want the General Assembly to drop the effort to impeach or censure Gov. Mark Sanford.

Finally, a poll with some majority opinion about the Sanford affair.

All summer, the public has been divided over Sanford, over whether he should resign or be impeached.

A new InsiderAdvantage/Statehouse Report poll asked 700 registered S.C. voters about the affair.

"For the last six months, lawmakers have been caught up in what to do about Governor Sanford's shenanigans," said Statehouse Report publisher Andy Brack. "After six months of headlines, it's pretty clear people are sick of it and want the Legislature to start working on things like better jobs, better education, and policies that make a difference in their lives."

The Buzz, after watching the House Judiciary Committee in action, is confident the Legislature agrees with voters.

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