If you’re counting up the ways that Bobby Harrell’s departure from the House was a blessing to South Carolina, add this…
Mary Tinkler, the young Democrat who won his seat by default when Harrell had to withdraw from the 2014 election, is stepping up to avoid the obscenity of state taxpayers paying an exorbitant amount to display the fake nylon flag removed from the State House:
Representative Mary Tinkler to Prefile Bill Creating Commission to Fund Confederate Flag Display with Private Dollars
Tinkler bill would prevent taxpayers from funding proposed Confederate Flag Display
Charleston, SC – State Representative Mary Tinkler (D-Charleston) announced Wednesday that she will prefile legislation creating a nine-person commission to raise private funds for and oversee the maintenance of the display of the confederate battle flag that was removed from the statehouse grounds in July.
Last week, the museum commission approved a costly, $5.3-million design incorporating the display of the confederate battle flag in an expanded Confederate Relic Room in Columbia. As proposed by consultants, the display features eight-foot-tall panels with millions of small LED lights and requires significant security enhancements for the flag, which was removed after the massacre at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
“When the flag was removed from the statehouse grounds, we overwhelmingly agreed that it should be displayed in an appropriate manner,” said Tinker. “But this proposal is irresponsible and not in the best interest of South Carolina’s taxpayers. We have thousands of flood victims in this state who still haven’t seen relief, roads that are literally crumbling, and schools that continue to fail. Their needs should take priority.”
Tinkler says she plans to prefile legislation on Thursday that would limit public funding for the confederate battle flag but protect the planned display in perpetuity.
“Taxpayers should not be required to fund such an extravagant project when we have so many needs that aren’t being adequately addressed,” said Tinkler. “However, we can still honor the history of the confederacy with a flag display at the Confederate Relic Room. My bill is a free-market compromise that allows for an appropriate display, funded by private donations.”
Tinkler’s proposal tasks the legislature with appointing a commission, made up of lay people, to create and direct a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to raise the necessary funds for an appropriate confederate flag display. The Speaker of the House and the Senate President Pro Tempore would each have four (4) appointments, while the Governor would have one. The commission would also be in charge of raising the funds to maintain the display and support necessary personnel and security.
Good for her. But I’d go a step further: Even if every penny comes from private sources (which would be a challenge, since the proposal involves an annual cost of $416,000 in perpetuity — or until the rent goes even higher), this display should not be erected within the context of a museum under the purview of the state.
Even if the money drops from the sky, devoting that kind of space and energy to this tawdry token instead of to the real military relics at the museum would be obscene.