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vicupstate

SC Legislature

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Good for Lancaster. Our State Legislature is alot of BS if you ask me. They have too much power, and it seems that nobody can stop them. Mark Sanford may be governor, but Speaker Willis and Glenn McConnell have all the power in this state.

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Good for Lancaster. Our State Legislature is alot of BS if you ask me. They have too much power, and it seems that nobody can stop them. Mark Sanford may be governor, but Speaker Willis and Glenn McConnell have all the power in this state.

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Amen to that. It's Speaker Wilkins though. He may be leaving soon, but undoubtedly another bone-head will take his place. It seems to make no difference what person or party is in control in the legislature, all they produce is BS legislation that doesn't even attempt to address the REAL problems of this state.

The cap on Property Tax reassessments was found unconstitutional yesterday as well. Another mistake of the General Assembly. It only affects Charleston though. They were the only county stupid enough to implement the thing (even though they were warned of the likely unconstitutionally of it).

I have thought about starting a thread that would include every moronic thing the General Assembly does. I refrained though, because it would probably max out the server and cause a crash.

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Amen to that.  It's Speaker Wilkins though.  He may be leaving soon, but undoubtedly another bone-head will take his place.  It seems to make no difference what person or party is in control in the legislature, all they produce is BS legislation that doesn't even attempt to address the REAL problems of this state. 

I have thought about starting a thread that would include every moronic thing the General Assembly does.  I refrained though, because it would probably max out the server and cause a crash.

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Wilkins. Thats what I meant. Not sure why I typed that one wrong :blush:

I think once we get some of these old codgers out of there we will start to see a significant improvement. I know some of the younger senators and representatives have good ideas and want improvement. It just bothers me when we have a Governor with generally good ideas that he cant make happen becuase of the bickering in the General Assembly. Sanford is dead on when he talks about our antiquated system of government.

Of course, even if you don't like Sanford, the same stuff can apply to any other governor until the rules are changed.

Something interesting that I learned is the reason why our General Assembly has so much power. This is because after the Civil War the yankees installed governors to run the state (during reconstruction). Since the yankees controlled the governors mansion, we basicly stripped the governor of most of his powers and made all of his cabinet positions into elected officials (secretary of education, comptroller general, attourney general, etc). This was also to prevent a yankee or a black from being able to control anything important in the state. For the most part this system still exists. This is why I support Gov. Sanford's ideas on making many of these positions appointed, which would increase the influence of the governor in this state, and unify his platform. Does it make sense to have a Republican governor and a Democrat Sec'y of Education? Not to me. It seems that situation would be counter productive. Maybe I'm just preaching to the choir here. What do you think?

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Wilkins. Thats what I meant. Not sure why I typed that one wrong  :blush:

I think once we get some of these old codgers out of there we will start to see a significant improvement. I know some of the younger senators and representatives have good ideas and want improvement. It just bothers me when we have a Governor with generally good ideas that he cant make happen becuase of the bickering in the General Assembly. Sanford is dead on when he talks about our antiquated system of government.

Of course, even if you don't like Sanford, the same stuff can apply to any other governor until the rules are changed.

Something interesting that I learned is the reason why our General Assembly has so much power. This is because after the Civil War the yankees installed governors to run the state (during reconstruction). Since the yankees controlled the governors mansion, we basicly stripped the governor of most of his powers and made all of his cabinet positions into elected officials (secretary of education, comptroller general, attourney general, etc). This was also to prevent a yankee or a black from being able to control anything important in the state. For the most part this system still exists. This is why I support Gov. Sanford's ideas on making many of these positions appointed, which would increase the influence of the governor in this state, and unify his platform. Does it make sense to have a Republican governor and a Democrat Sec'y of Education? Not to me. It seems that situation would be counter productive. Maybe I'm just preaching to the choir here. What do you think?

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In general, Governors in South Carolina don't have much power, but the real problem is that so many bozos get elected to the General Assembly.

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A lot of posting on this site lately has revolved around SC's difficult annexation laws. I am curious what folks think about the state legislature's attitude to urban SC. Is it positive or negative. In Georgia, Atlanta and the other cities suffer from a legislature controlled in large part by rural/small town types. Before a few years ago, it was rural Democrats teamed up with urban Democrats from Atlanta and the other cities. Now it is rural Republicans teamed up with suburban Republicans. But in both coalitions, it was the rural/small town legislators who seemed to have the power on the committees, etc. It seems part of the problem is that the rural/small town folks send the same people back to the state capital year after year and decade after decade. They wind up with the senority that is so related to power. Suburban residents especially seem less loyal to their politicians with so many residents being transplants anyway. So, while Atlanta (the state's cash cow) is choking on traffic, the state is funding nice, four-lane highways to small towns--the type of highways where you pass a car every few minutes. And they are generally anti-transit. It is really a small town, anti-urban mindset. Is the same true in SC?

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If our legislature was a business they would be bankrupt.

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If the Legislature were a business, it would be a morally bankrupt one as well as a financially bankrupt one.

I think once we get some of these old codgers out of there we will start to see a significant improvement. I know some of the younger senators and representatives have good ideas and want improvement. It just bothers me when we have a Governor with generally good ideas that he cant make happen becuase of the bickering in the General Assembly. Sanford is dead on when he talks about our antiquated system of government.

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Nothing personal Spartan, but you're dreaming IMO. One set of old men replaces the prior ones. Nothing changes. It's just like the old Soviet Union.

I have been following state governement since 1981, and it hasn't changed in that time. Back then Glenn McConnell was a newly-elected reformer. Now look at him.

It takes seniority to get power. By the time they have it, they are entrenched in the system, and now benefit from that power. They have worked in the fish market so long, they have forgotten that it stinks.

Back in the '60s and early '70s it was Edgar Brown and Sol Blatt. In the late '70s and '80s it was Marion Gressette and Rembert Dennis. Later it was James Waddell and Marshall Williams. Now it's Glenn McConnell and Verne Smith. The names change, the results don't. I know I'm a big cynic on this issue, but it isn't without basis.

A lot of posting on this site lately has revolved around SC's difficult annexation laws. I am curious what folks think about the state legislature's attitude to urban SC. Is it positive or negative. In Georgia, Atlanta and the other cities suffer from a legislature controlled in large part by rural/small town types. Before a few years ago, it was rural Democrats teamed up with urban Democrats from Atlanta and the other cities. Now it is rural Republicans teamed up with suburban Republicans. But in both coalitions, it was the rural/small town legislators who seemed to have the power on the committees, etc. It seems part of the problem is that the rural/small town folks send the same people back to the state capital year after year and decade after decade. They wind up with the senority that is so related to power. Suburban residents especially seem less loyal to their politicians with so many residents being transplants anyway. So, while Atlanta (the state's cash cow) is choking on traffic, the state is funding nice, four-lane highways to small towns--the type of highways where you pass a car every few minutes. And they are generally anti-transit. It is really a small town, anti-urban mindset. Is the same true in SC?

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The SC legislature is very anti-city and for that matter anti-local government period. Every year the General Assembly cuts funding to the "political subdivisions" as they are called, so that the state can keep that money. This might be money such as taxes collected on specialty items, (gas, beer, etc) or a reduction from the previous year's level of funding provided by the state. The cities, counties and school districts then either cut budgets or raise taxes, usually both. Therefore the local governments and schools get the blame for raising taxes while the state legislators can boost that they "haven't raised taxes".

Also, the G.A. has passed many bills over the years to limit new types of revenue for localities, such as taxes on cell phones, etc. That leaves the cities with no option but to raise property taxes. The only exceptions are to get voter approval for a local option sales tax (most of which has to be credited against property taxes anyway), or to levy a prepared meal tax of up to 2%.

In term of highway funds, it seems to be more evenly distributed based on population, since the state is majority urban/suburban now. It didn't use to be that way a decade or two back. The balance of power finally shifted with the population.

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The state govt essentially controlled the cities and counties until 1973. I think that as we get further removed from that era, and as we become a less rural state, we will see more change in that regard. The whole thing can't be overhauled at once. Maybe I am dreaming, but I prefer to think of it as optimism :)

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Sadly - I haven't found any reason to feel any optimisism about state level government. Things weren't that great when GA & SC were run by rural democrats & more likely they won't under suburban republicans. All we can hope is they throw us a few bones, in exchange for support.

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I'd like to be optimistic, but while our state's legislators spend all of their time worrying about passing homophobic legislation, schools remain underfunded, roads go unpaved and the wealthy get tax cuts. Its a sad set of facts, but true.

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I'd like to be optimistic, but while our state's legislators spend all of their time worrying about passing homophobic legislation, schools remain underfunded, roads go unpaved and the wealthy get tax cuts. Its a sad set of facts, but true.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

On the bright side, it could be worse. No offense to any Alabama folks, but that is a truly backward state government. Even their Ronald Reagan clone Republican Governor Bob Riley tried to change things in a more progressive fashion. And his efforts were defeated.

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On the bright side, it could be worse. No offense to any Alabama folks, but that is a truly backward state government. Even their Ronald Reagan clone Republican Governor Bob Riley tried to change things in a more progressive fashion. And his efforts were defeated.

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I definitely prefer our SC Riley to Alabama's Riley ;)

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A lot of posting on this site lately has revolved around SC's difficult annexation laws. I am curious what folks think about the state legislature's attitude to urban SC. Is it positive or negative...

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I have to agree with vicupstate's post. This state is definitely anti-city, and it stems from a long-time engraved "good ol' boy" network. Many problems with SC's taxes and education were derived from under-the-table deals that politicians worked out, such as this state being a "donor state" for gas taxes. That is the most stupid thing I've ever heard...we'll tax you for gas in SC, but instead of using that money to help fund sufficient roads and highways, we'll just give it to NC and Georgia. That really gets under my skin.

Anyway, back on subject...SC has had a backwards mentality when it comes to urban legislation because of its rural roots. We are getting out of that era, but most of the politicians that are currently in the General Assembly actually grew up from the NIMBY mindset of older politicians in the 70s and 80s. Most people still did not live in the city, and cities in SC were much smaller and poorer. Most people preferred to get services with PSDs than cities, because they were cheaper. Now, the opposite is true, which is causing more people to want to live in the city limits. I'm going to be cautiously optimistic, saying that SC is becoming more urban in its physique and politics, but we need to vote out the less progressive people such as McConnell.

One side note that I think is rather interesting. This isn't even an issue with political parties. Both McConnell and Richie are Republican, yet Richie is trying to get bills passed to increase annexation powers for cities while McConnell is basically trying to allow for sporadic, disjointed new cities to form which will cut older, bigger cities off at the knees.

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I have to agree with vicupstate's post. This state is definitely anti-city, and it stems from a long-time engraved "good ol' boy" network. Many problems with SC's taxes and education were derived from under-the-table deals that politicians worked out, such as this state being a "donor state" for gas taxes. That is the most stupid thing I've ever heard...we'll tax you for gas in SC, but instead of using that money to help fund sufficient roads and highways, we'll just give it to NC and Georgia. That really gets under my skin.

Anyway, back on subject...SC has had a backwards mentality when it comes to urban legislation because of its rural roots. We are getting out of that era, but most of the politicians that are currently in the General Assembly actually grew up from the NIMBY mindset of older politicians in the 70s and 80s. Most people still did not live in the city, and cities in SC were much smaller and poorer. Most people preferred to get services with PSDs than cities, because they were cheaper. Now, the opposite is true, which is causing more people to want to live in the city limits. I'm going to be cautiously optimistic, saying that SC is becoming more urban in its physique and politics, but we need to vote out the less progressive people such as McConnell.

One side note that I think is rather interesting. This isn't even an issue with political parties. Both McConnell and Richie are Republican, yet Richie is trying to get bills passed to increase annexation powers for cities while McConnell is basically trying to allow for sporadic, disjointed new cities to form which will cut older, bigger cities off at the knees.

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Amen

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The state govt essentially controlled the cities and counties until 1973. I think that as we get further removed from that era, and as we become a less rural state, we will see more change in that regard. The whole thing can't be overhauled at once. Maybe I am dreaming, but I prefer to think of it as optimism :)

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What you are referring to is commonly called the "Home Rule" act. Prior to that, each county was largely controlled by it's one and only state senator. A

"Boss Hogg" if you will. That was indeed a landmark piece of legislation, and a huge step in the right direction.

However, since then, several laws have been passed that undermine the spirit and letter of the Home Rule Act. For instance, just recently a bill passed the House and is favored in the Senate to virtually eliminate the ability of localities to control or regulate billboards. And this under the control of the GOP which supposedly proports to believe "the government closest to the people governs best". Similiar legislation to prevent local governments from restricting hog farm operations is also in the pipeline.

Besides, I seriously doubt there are more than 2 or 3 total members in the legislature (out of 170) that were serving prior to Home Rule. I would argue that Home Rule has been MORE undermined recently than when it was new.

On the bright side, it could be worse. No offense to any Alabama folks, but that is a truly backward state government. Even their Ronald Reagan clone Republican Governor Bob Riley tried to change things in a more progressive fashion. And his efforts were defeated.

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I remember hearing about Bob Riley's effort to restructure the Alabama government (ie taxation) so that it was not so regressive. Their structure taxes the poor disproportionately higher than higher income levels. The same thing can be said of SC though.

SC has no exemption for groceries from the state's sales tax. The comparitively steep state income tax (7%) applies to even very low incomes. There is no homestead property tax exemption except for those over 65 (rich or poor).

I don't know the intricate details of Alabama's tax system, but it sounds like SC is in the same league to me.

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Very good comments. The situation that exists in SC can be traced all the way back to re-construction at the end of the War Between the States. Once the war was over the state still suffered from relatively few powerful well off people in control over everyone else. There was no educated middle class and the situation remained that way until maybe the 1960s.

Thus the state politics revolved around keeping those in power, in power, and the rest poor, uneducated, and subservaint. The Home Rule Act, Blue Laws, high taxation, annexation laws were all attempts at this. The other part of this was to keep the poor Whites and even poorer Blacks fighting each other to detract away from the what was really going on. Public school was still segregated in SC until 1970 and TEC system was actually designed to keep the people in SC from getting college educations. (BTW, I remember attending an all White Myrtle Beach Grade School.) And until the 1970s, local politicians used to oppose national businesses from locating in SC because it would improve wages and force the local textile owners to compete for higher salaries.

Of course it is much better now but laws and people are slow to change and that is why you see many of the issues that have been pointed out in this thread. And its not that SC is alone in its problems if you look at once successful cities in the North that are now decaying, dying and losing people. The big difference is that SC is headed in the right direction and the state also has many things working in its favor.

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Once again, our legislature shows its ass.

Altman is the biggest moron in the asylum, that is for sure.

Legislature kills domestic violence bill

Portion of Altman and reporter's exchange

Bio on Altman with 'infamous comments' included

I do have to say one thing though. The WIS reporter obviously hasn't lived in SC long, because EVERYONE knows that Gamecocks (and Tigers) are by far the most important thing in SC. No one in authority here gives a damn about how backward this state, is as long as the USC and Clemson football/basketball/baseball teams are not affected.

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Once again, our legislature shows its ass.

Altman is the biggest moron in the asylum, that is for sure. 

Legislature kills domestic violence bill

Portion of Altman and reporter's exchange

Bio on Altman with 'infamous comments' included

I do have to say one thing though.  The WIS reporter obviously hasn't lived in SC long, because EVERYONE knows that Gamecocks (and Tigers) are by far the most important thing in SC.  No one in authority here gives a damn about how backward this state, is as long as the USC and Clemson football/basketball/baseball teams are not affected.

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Altman is practically the only politician I know of that makes Jesse Helms look progressive. Why his constituants keep sending him back to Columbia is utterly beyond me.

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Please note in the second article that while this new law applies statewide, "few raised questions about the bill's statewide impact".

OK, so which one of us should run for political office in this state? These bozo's irk me to NO END!

P.S.  Don't be surprised to see an incorporation effort in Richland County soon.  Most likely in the Northeast (some support is already in place), maybe one in the St. Andrews area (previous efforts were unsuccessful) or Lower Richland (to circumvent Town & Country).

I did hear that Richland northeast made an attempt at incorporation sometime in the past.

Does anyone know about the study that the city of Columbia is supposed to be doing that analyzes alternate forms of government, including city-county consolidation?

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More on the changes to the state's incorporation laws...

Let me make a prediction...  Within two to three years, some unintended consequences will be apparent from this bill.  Incorporations will sprout up all over the state.  Regional planning will be difficult to accomplish and circumvented by "paper towns"  that exist not so much to provide public services, but to prevent annexation by existing cities, or to promote or avoid dense development (whether it is in the genuine public interest or not).   

These legislators pass laws with little discussion that make governing on the local level very difficult, and orderly growth nearly impossible. 

BTW, only 20 House members (out of 124) voted against this bill.

P.S.  Don't be surprised to see an incorporation effort in Richland County soon.  Most likely in the Northeast (some support is already in place), maybe one in the St. Andrews area (previous efforts were unsuccessful) or Lower Richland (to circumvent Town & Country).

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I hope cities dont do anything that wasteful here but then again this is SC everybody has to be incontrol of there little piece of the pie regardless of how wasteful it is. I would really love to see some consolidation going on just today "the State" Newspaper was refering too Richland County planning a tax hike because many of its services were underfunded. To me in a county the size of Richland that just doesn't make sense!? There are enough people to fund services but money is being chopped up and used for the same thing all over the county its crazy? If Columbia was a larger city and Richland a larger county I could see a need for maybe duplicate services but in a relatively small-mid-sized town it just seems very wasteful. But I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here. SC has really got to get its head out of its ass and adjust to doing things for the good of the state/ region/ county/ or city. I thought feudalism was dead?

I still don't understand why cities don't strongarm more subdivison's that are using city supplied water, or at least offer the residents some type of incentive for annexation (ie lower rate, tax fee, etc.)?

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I hope cities dont do anything that wasteful here but then again this is SC everybody has to be incontrol of there little piece of the pie regardless of how wasteful it is...SC has really got to get its head out of its ass and adjust to doing things for the good of the state/ region/ county/ or city. I thought feudalism was dead?

I still don't understand why cities don't strongarm more subdivison's that are using city supplied water, or at least offer the residents some type of incentive for annexation (ie lower rate, tax fee, etc.)?

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One word for why cities don't get subdivisions to join their city immediately, but allow for water usage: politics. I think many city and county leaders are afraid that if they strongarmed these communities, there would be a big backlash from the residents to vote them out of office. It is ridiculous...why can't cities just establish a law which points directly to developers and says, "Hey, if you want to build a new neighborhood, you must annex into our city, or you won't get any water?" Charleston has had that problem with new neighborhoods currently under construction on Johns Island. Check this out, the water utility for the island known as St. Johns Water Works actually buys water and water usage from Charleston's Public Works utility! Wouldn't it make more sense for the city to just annex the area and provide the water?!?! This is SC idiocy at its finest.

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