Finance chair has his little joke

This has been a really long day (so far), but before it’s over I wanted to share this…

This morning, I had just had breakfast in the usual joint when I passed by a table where Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman was seated with a couple of his staffers, talking about where they were going to find money to address the state’s shortfall. (You will recall that lawmakers are meeting that week for the purpose of dealing with said shortfall.)

He said he was instructing them to look first at newspapers. HAR-DE-HAR-HAR. That ol’ Hugh is a laugh riot.

I told him that if he found any money lying around in newspapers, to be sure to let us know about it

22 thoughts on “Finance chair has his little joke

  1. Doug Ross

    Maybe you should have asked Mr. Leatherman whether the entire “competitive grants” slush fund budget will be cut…
    Let me remind readers of where your tax dollars were spent during this time when budget cuts are being made to health and education programs. From the June 27, 2008 report:
    Anderson Balloon Fest $100,000
    Rock Hill Blues Fest $ 8,500
    Rock Hill Christmasville $ 10,000
    Battle of Central
    Civil War Reenactment $ 5,000
    Belton Heritage Days $ 12,240
    Bob Jones University
    Museum $ 50,000
    Save The Chapin Theatre
    Plan $ 30,000
    Conway 4th of July
    Festival $ 18,000
    Florence Pecan Festival $ 20,000
    Greenville Bassmasters $ 20,000
    Greenville Scottish Games $ 20,000
    Greenville Cycling
    Championship $150,000
    Gilbert Peach Festival $ 10,000
    I have to stop there. I’m getting ill just thinking about all the corruption and waste that is allowed to occur right under everyone’s nose… meanwhile kids are going to bed hungry, senior citizens can’t get the medicines they need, and we can’t find the money for a bus to take people to work downtown.
    The State should put a fullpage photo of Mr. Leatherman on the front page with the headline: SHAME ON YOU! and after he gets elected AGAIN, the headline should read: SHAME ON ALL OF YOU!

  2. Karen McLeod

    Term limits won’t work. The bad ones just turn over faster. What it takes is a willingness to vote the idiots out of office, a news media able to keep us informed about these votes (that includes ya’ll, Brad), and a willingness to decide that however much one may want one’s local festival to wax and grow fat, it should not do so at the expense of the entire state. Now, that’s gonna take work.

  3. Michael Rodgers

    Brad, et al.,
    If you want to laugh, I tried my hand at satire again. This one is about the state budget crisis. Enjoy.
    Michael Rodgers
    Columbia, SC

  4. Mike Cakora

    The libertarian Cato Institute has released their latest Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors: 2008 with Governor Sanford joining Florida’s Charlie Crist and West bG Virginia’s Joe Manchin at the top of the class with an “A”.
    I know The State will trumpet these findings — I really do hate to steal your thunder — and hope that the legislature will take a lesson from this.

  5. Lee Muller

    In the previous 5 years, the economy was so good that tax revenues ran a $3.3 Billion SURPLUS, which the legislature blew on junk programs, increasing their spending plans as if it would continue to come.
    They could have paid off the huge illegal debt the state carries in bonds.
    They could have funded the state retirement system, which is $400,000,000 underfunded this year, and billions underfunded for the current employees.
    Now, when the economic growth slows from 5% to 2.8%, they cry “shortfall”, as if it is an unexpected event, beyond their control.

  6. just saying

    Following up on Lee’s post, I find it sad that, instead of “saving for the inevitable rainy day”, the state decided to either spend all of the extra money during the boom years or to return it to the tax payers.
    Any hope that one of these years they’ll actually learn… deciding on what level of government they want to fund, and set up a funding system that can sustain it?

  7. Doug Ross

    Just Saying,
    There’s a very easy way to set up a system like you propose. Set the budget for this year equal to the amount brought in last year minus 10% that goes into a rainy day fund for emergency spending that requires a three fourths majority to allocate to one time projects. You can then stop trying to forecast what the economy will do and instead spend what you have. A unique concept.
    Tax reform, term limits, and transparency.
    The three T’s of good government. We have none of those…

  8. Lee Muller

    Yes, the state should be run off the money in 2008 that it received in 2008, minus savings.
    Instead, the state lives week to week on tax receipts. When it gets a little extra, the legislators get drunk and blow it on junk, with nothing to show for it.
    Then then tell the taxpayers that “we must make sacrifices”.
    They have no budget.
    They set no priorities.
    They illegally run deficits by borrowing.
    They waste enough money on interest to lots of necessary things.
    It is all about trying to spend as much money as possible on their childish pet projects, or get it back to their district, or the financial backers of their campaigns.

  9. bud

    I don’t know how much money we’ve spent on the Hunley Museum but every penny of it is money wasted.

  10. Bill C.

    I bet the Legislature (and Brad) wish they would have listened to Sanford now. I guess he’ll have the last “laugh”.

  11. Doug Ross

    Don’t you understand? South Carolina’s problems are due to Mark Sanford not bending over backwards to be one of the good old boys? Didn’t he realize that he’s just the governor of the state and that he has to kiss the ring of some career politician from Podunk Corner in order to get anything accomplished? Shoot, all they want is a few million dollars to toss around to their pals so they can keep getting re-elected… what’s the harm in that?

  12. Bart

    When the trough is filled with slop, the political pigs feeding at it will not stop until it is all gone. If you try to save some for a rainy day, the pigs will root it out and eat it too. Sanford did get it right when he let the two pigs loose in the House a few years ago.
    Differences aside, I think most of the posters on this blog agree on this one thing. If anyone with half a brain, no make that a quarter of a brain would stop and think for one moment, they should realize that the economy is always in a perpetual cycle from good to bad. Every 6 to 10 years, we experience a downturn. We have shorfalls in revenue. Then, we have to listen to the incessant warnings about sacrifices and budget cutbacks.
    Our politicians treat the words “fiscal responsibility” like a leper during flush times and embrace it like a long lost relative during tight times.
    Doug, as you said, your list was just a partial offering of the amount of waste and resources spent on things not remotely important to running a state effectively. Your list alone totals over $450,000 and you were only up to the “Gs”. One quarter million dollars to two events?
    Hugh Leatherman is a DRINO in my opinion. He started out as a Democrat, ran for governor, humiliated, bolted to the Republican party seeking shelter and has overstayed his welcome. And this is the man who is Senate Finance Chairman?
    Brad, maybe you can start a premium section of your blog to make up for the cuts in newspapers Leatherman is looking for. Wait, I didn’t know you received state funding. I thought the State was a for profit newspaper. Does Hugh know something we don’t? Maybe he will switch to Libertarian next. They may slam the door in his face, after all, they are a lot more particular about membership than Democrats and Republicans are.

  13. bud

    Brad, I’m with Bart. What’s the “newspaper” comment about anyway. Does the State receive some kind of funding?

  14. p.m.

    Doug, we are wasting more in my little county building a $21 million middle school that includes a 2,500-seat gymnasium than is being thrown away on festival pork.
    But the fault is still the legislature’s, and the federal government’s, for having come up with a method of education funding that allows spending by category not based on local need but by state allocation.

  15. p.m.

    Bud, newspapers such as The State write editorials telling the legislature what it should do.
    By being facetious, Leatherman was telling Brad he didn’t need his help figuring out what to do about the shortfall. He was also rubbing Brad’s face in the fact that newspapers, with pages and employees disappearing due to falling profits, aren’t doing any better than the state revenue system is lately.

  16. bud

    Here’s a great idea for saving money. We could cut the drug war at the state level and save a ton of money. That would reduce the need for prisons, cops, courts and a whole bunch of other wasted resourses.
    Brom Joe Conason
    Budget cutting? Take a hatchet to the war on drugs
    Every year we throw away billions on a failed program to punish addicts — an approach both candidates should know doesn’t work.
    By Joe Conason
    Oct. 20, 2008 | If Barack Obama or John McCain wants to find a federal program that wastes hundreds of billions of dollars, he can take the scalpel (or better yet the hatchet) to the national war on drugs. Economists, physicians, police chiefs and prison wardens have repeatedly concluded that the drug war has been a very costly failure over the past four decades, but then neither Obama nor McCain needs to hear the truth from any expert — because each of them can draw on his own painful personal experience.

  17. p.m.

    Bud, old buddy, old pal, you say, “We could cut the drug war at the state level and save a ton of money,” but then you quote a writer damning the federal war on drugs: “If Barack Obama or John McCain wants to find a federal program that wastes hundreds of billions of dollars, he can take the scalpel (or better yet the hatchet) to the national war on drugs.”
    Do you really believe we can stop the federal war on drugs at the state level, that we can just just say no to Just Say No and still take the federal money?
    Or is the bong talking?

  18. Lee Muller

    Obama, an admitted long-time user of marijuana and cocaine, may cut back on drug law enforcement. He buys into the claim that drug laws are racist because they target crimes committed by so many blacks like himself.
    Those close to Obama during his days as a “community organizer” hint that he “was doing things, more than just using” drugs. Obama earlier roomed in New York with a Pakistani smuggler before moving to Chicago, according to a CNN investigation into his Columbia University records, and his lack of any trace of leases, utility bills or jobs for over 10 years.

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