Opinion Extra

Editorials from across South Carolina: pension bill, gas tax, other legislation

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Veto pension bill

A long-term plan to buoy the state’s vastly underfunded pension system would do so largely on the backs of taxpayers, while reducing oversight and omitting a needed exit strategy.

Gov. Henry McMaster should veto this flawed bill and urge the Legislature to do a better job next year.

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Why SC treasurer helps invest state pension funds — and shouldn’t

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The legislation would solve the fund’s long suppurating financial problems, but mainly through increased taxpayer contributions for decades to come. The state is looking at unfunded liabilities — retirement pay and benefits promised to some 550,000 former and current state workers — totaling about $24 billion.…

A highly questionable provision of the bill would remove the state treasurer as custodian of the pension plan and as an adviser to its investment commission. As a statewide elected constitutional officer, the treasurer performs a vital oversight role for his constituents. The extensive problems with the pension fund show the need for more, not less, oversight.

It also would remove the present requirement for the State Fiscal Accountability Authority (SFAA) to approve policy decisions by the Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA), which oversees state pensions. Again, the state needs more, not less, oversight over this troubled fund.

In the end, the bailout falls to taxpayers.

Post & Courier

Charleston

Do something

Our former governor has moved on to the United Nations and our current governor, Henry McMaster, is not, at this point, needing a big box of pens in anticipation of signing new legislation into law.

Whether it’s devising a plan — a real and sustainable plan — to fix our roads, funding repairs for state colleges and universities or, really, anything of substance, the wheels of government seem to have gone into a muddy ditch.

Perhaps that is poetic justice, but it is not doing justice by our residents, nor is it doing justice by our businesses and industries — current and future.

Lawmakers have also been debating legislation that would allow people to openly carry their handguns, as well as legislation that would expand gun permit reciprocity.

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Their guns are concealed; their strategy, not so much

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We’d rather they set their sights on more broad-reaching legislation, such as road repairs or the condition of our colleges and universities, but they seem content to just keep the debate going and going.…

The wheels of government are not greased with the same grease as private business, but it seems there’s no grease at all — at least not on some major issues.

Inaction seems to translate well into job security for some of these lawmakers. That, and perhaps, voters have short- and even long-term memory issues.

Too bad the voters can’t give lawmakers a to-do list, set a deadline and then fire them when they don’t comply.

Index-Journal

Greenwood

Raise gas tax

Gov. Henry McMaster apparently has decided to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Nikki Haley, by standing in opposition to raising gas taxes.

The McMaster plan calls for borrowing needed road funds instead of the House plan of incrementally raising gas taxes 2 cents a gallon per year, capping it at 12 cents. Borrowing is a terrible idea because it’ll wind up costing South Carolina taxpayers more, not less.

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The governor’s fourth pig

Could reform be the essential piece to road-funding puzzle? (Hint: Yes)

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According to lawmakers, the gas tax and other proposed fee increases would raise about $800 million annually. Borrowing on the bond market would wind up costing taxpayers millions more.…

Here’s also why we think McMaster has taken a wrong turn.

McMaster has said he wants a road bill to address reform at the S.C. Department of Transportation. Reforming any state agency is a good idea, and we especially like the idea of looking into state agency reform. But attaching it as a rider to any road bill makes no sense.

How in the world will reforming S.C. DOT produce immediate results for South Carolina drivers? Exactly which roads will be paved and when? We can’t think of one. If S.C. DOT reform is needed, it should be a separate bill and not incorporated into road funding.

It’s time for South Carolina to stop the road funding traffic jam. The current debate isn’t getting new roads paved and old roads repaired any faster.

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