From the Speaker of the House

I received this email a couple of weeks ago from Bobby Harrell, Speaker of the House of Representatives of South Carolina.

“Dear Friends,

Times are tough. But from the beginning of this legislative
session, the South Carolina House Republican Caucus has been
committed to growing South Carolina’s economy, creating jobs and
making government more efficient.

That’s why I’m writing you today.

In 2009, House Republicans passed legislation that would prevent
voter fraud, safeguard religious freedom in South Carolina,
reduce cumbersome red tape regulation of small businesses,
protect the unborn and protect workers’ rights against big labor
bosses. I am proud of these accomplishments and others.

As you know, this year marked one of the most difficult budget
years our state has ever faced. Hardworking families across
South Carolina are feeling the pinch. And like any family, House
Republicans prioritized our state budget and made responsible
fiscal decisions that reflect our conservative values.

House Republicans were determined to balance the budget – and do
so by cutting government spending instead of raising taxes.
That’s precisely what we did by cutting waste and increasing
efficiencies, even as Democrats fought us tooth and nail.

We took other measures to save taxpayers across South Carolina.
By adjourning early and taking 5 additional furlough weeks, the
House saved taxpayers over $400,000. This – combined with a
hiring freeze, staff furloughs and salary cuts, printing cost
reductions, utilization of Internet services, and many other
cost saving measures – greatly reduced operating costs and saved
taxpayers well over $1 million.

I would be remiss if I didn’t address the debate surrounding the
so-called stimulus bill that passed the Democrat Congress. A
vast majority of House Republicans strongly opposed the ‘so
-called’ stimulus bill. If I’d been in Congress, I would’ve
joined our Republican congressional delegation in voting against
it. But the fact remains that it passed, and lawmakers decided
to utilize these funds marked for education and law enforcement
instead of sending South Carolina’s money to other states
because our citizens would have to pay it back either way.

Many of us thought the idea of paying off debt was a good one,
but we have been told twice in writing from Washington that
would not be allowed, and our money would end up going to other
states if we did not use it in the budget. That’s why we chose
to use it primarily for education and law enforcement.

Because of our actions our students will have teachers in their
classrooms, police will remain on the streets and prisoners will
stay behind bars. With South Carolinians responsible for the
repayment of this money, we owed it to our students, teachers,
police officers and citizens to make this responsible decision.

I look forward to hearing from you. Your voice drives debate in
Columbia. Please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime I can be
of assistance.

Sincerely,

Bobby Harrell
Speaker, S.C. House of Representatives”

This enfuriates me. They “made responsible fiscal decisions that reflect their conservative values”?!? Apparently they define “responsible” differently than I do. I won’t contend that their decisions do indeed reflect their conservative values, because I believe they do. And that’s troubling, not reassuring.

He also claims that they cut waste and increased efficiencies while fighting the Democrats tooth and nail. It’s amazing how good you can make yourself sound while not telling the whole truth.

Most of the Republicans in the legislature fought the GOVERNOR (who happens to be much more conservative than they are) tooth and nail while he was trying to make even MORE “responsible fiscal decisions”.

Here’s the clincher: “Many of us thought the idea of paying off debt was a good one, but we have been told twice in writing from Washington that would not be allowed, and our money would end up going to other states if we did not use it in the budget. That’s why we chose to use it primarily for education and law enforcement.”

Give me a break! I might could believe in Speaker Harrell’s sincerity, if it weren’t for this claim. Sure the White House said we couldn’t pay down debt with that, but there was a way to get around it! They could have used the state funds to pay down debt, and used the stimulus funds to replace the state funds in the budget. This is just a smokescreen to hide the fact that they get big green dollar signs in their eyes when they see “money” and “government” in the same sentence, regardless of what it costs their grandchildren in the long run.

And they claim to be conservatives!

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