Cindi Scoppe just got a little help.
For years, Cindi has been writing at least annually about the outrageous pensions that SC lawmakers give themselves. She just got some reinforcement in that crusade, with a front-page story in USA Today, which begins:
Most workers must retire from their jobs before getting retirement benefits. But Thomas used a one-sentence law that he and his colleagues passed in 2002 to let legislators receive a taxpayer-funded pension instead of a salary after serving for 30 years.
Thomas’ $32,390 annual retirement benefit — paid for the rest of his life — is more than triple the $10,400 salary he gave up. His pension exceeds the salary because of another perk: Lawmakers voted to count their expenses in the salary used to calculate their pensions.
No other South Carolina state workers get those perks.
Since January 2005, Thomas, a Republican, has made $148,435 more than a legislative salary would have paid, his financial-disclosure records show. At least four other South Carolina lawmakers are getting pensions instead of salaries, netting an extra $292,000 since 2005, records show.
And so forth and so on.
Increasingly, national media are discovering just how wild and wacky South Carolina is. On the one hand, it’s embarrassing. On the other, it’s nice to get the attention.
Who knows? Maybe the added exposure will help here at home. After all, last year, laudatory national coverage got Nikki Haley elected governor.
Expect Cindi to write about it more.