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You Want It….. They Got It, but Won’t Give It to You

September 25, 2008

By: Caroline Elliott

Yesterday, for the millionth time, South Carolina legislatures gathered at the state house to discuss government transparency. Why is this issue even being discussed? Its 2008, the issue should be a given.

Every reader and every voter should be outraged that we are putting up with the lack of government transparency in this state. No individual knows specifically how the state’s money is flying out the window. It’s utterly ridiculous that our legislative branch is not and has not been held responsible for spending tax dollars. They are stewards of the funds we put in their hands to improve our state and we need to know exactly how it is being handled. 

Thank goodness we have people like Governor Sanford and S.C. House Representatives Nikki Haley and Nathan Ballentine representing the people’s tax dollars. Ashley Landass, President of the S.C. Policy Council, also spoke on government transparency. She said, “Other states hold their lawmakers much more accountable on the record- South Carolinians deserve full transparency from their public servants.” 

As of now, most Southeastern states mandate roll call votes for their legislatures, so why doesn’t South Carolina? Why do our legislators have the right to spend taxpayer’s money without disclosing the facts? And finally, why do legislatures, including Haley and Ballentine, have to put up with this nonsense?

Here are the facts: In a recent study done by the South Carolina Policy Council only 8% of the S.C. House votes were accounted for and even more shocking only 1% of votes were on the record on the Senate side. Basically, our lawmakers are having no problem running through taxpayer’s dollars, but don’t want to be held fiscally accountable. 

So what’s in it for the legislators? For one, they will have responsibility/ bragging rights on their voting behavior. Come re-election time, legislators can pull out the hard facts. The on-the-record spending votes that truly support their reason for being in office. 

In addition to accountability, keeping legislators financially responsible will keep interest group’s money away. Let’s be serious, interest groups are only looking out for number one, themselves. Their policy. Their rules because it’s their money funding the system. It’s been proven, voting on-the-record works. 

Just to prove how much it works, Governor Sanford’s actions parallel that of Governor Palin. She said, “As the governor of Alaska, I did things like put the state’s checkbook online so that everybody could see where the money was being sent.” Governor Palin’s financial plans have obviously worked because if she was considered an irresponsible unaccountable spendthrift she would not be the vice- presidential nominee. Henceforth, the people have a right to know, so give it up. News flash: The days of back room deals and off the record votes are over.

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Caroline Elliott, Senior  SCHotline Contributor- Elliott is a senior at the University of South Carolina pursuing a bachelor’s degree in public relations with a minor in business. She has been active in campaigns in South Carolina and has worked in Washington D.C the past two summers, in Representative Sue Myrick’s office (R- NC 9) and the Republican National Committee.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. BlueCat57 permalink
    September 25, 2008 11:35 PM

    Nice piece. (Is that politically correct to say about something an attractive woman has written? I’m a bit gun shy after learning that describing something as a black hole is racist.)If you want to take your show on the road just check out Anderson County. Don’t bother reading the Fish Wrapper (the Anderson Independent), check out Rick Driver’s morning show at 1230WAIM.com. Transparency is unheard of in Anderson County. The more I learn about South Carolina the less I like it. But at least here there is a chance that things will change for the better unlike states like California or New York. PS – You may want to reread your last paragraph there are two typos. Your boss might have trouble spelling his own name, but if you make a mistake that he finds you’ll be read the riot act. Trust me on that one.

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