Budget Cuts and Stimulus Monies

December 16, 2009 by  
Filed under SC Politics

In March 2009, 108 of our State Representatives voted to accept the $787 million dollar stimulus package and incorporated these monies into our operating budget for fiscal year 2010.

To this date, the SC Budget Control Board has had to cut a total of 9% (4% in Sept. 09 and 5% in Dec. 09) off of the budget which is approximately $440 million dollars.  My simple math shows me that 55% of the federal monies added to our operating budget has been cut out of the budget.

If we repeat last year with an overall cut of 15%, almost 90% of the federal stimulus monies added into the budget would be cut.

You can argue that this was not the federal monies all you want, but had the state honored Gov. Sanford’s wishes in excluding that money from the budget, for a more conservative budget, one could argue we would not be having the headlines we are seeing today.

According to WSPA, the first 4% reduction actually cut $85 Million from our education programs in the state.  Many of you may remember that our elected officials lobbying for this money said that teachers would lose jobs and schools would close had they not accepted the money.

My only question to our leaders is that if they could not survive without the monies then, how are they going to survive now?

I for one find myself in an ever delicate situation as the Spartanburg Charter School begins revising their budgets for the latest cuts. We are looking to cut an additional $36K or 5% out of our already tight budget.

The Public Charter School District (emphasis on public), which consists of a few brick and mortar schools (including SCS) and several virtual schools receives approximately $3000 per the state budget allocations. The Public Charter School District only receives funding from state sources whereas the traditional public school receives funding from federal and local sources as well.

For comparison sake, the average school district in SC receives approximately $11,000 per pupil before budget cuts and about $10,000 per pupil after the cuts.  Understand that these figures do not include transportation and other services, this is for primary education purposes.

Our leaders are claiming that they wish to reform education and provide public options, I want to ask them these questions:

  • Why are we not providing these kids with the same opportunities as their brethren across town?
  • Why can we not say as a state that every child gets $8,000 and it follows them to any public school they choose to attend?
  • What makes the students in the Fairfield School District ($15,240/pupil) more special than those in the Dillon 3 School District ($7,865/pupil) or the Charter School District for that matter($3000/pupil)?

If we are going to reform education, we must ensure that our students are equally funded.  It will also require our leadership to make hard decisions, including targeted spending reductions to non-essential services instead of broad brush strokes that drains the entire state.

Extra:
SC State Budget Education Provisions

Table 301 Offers Stimulus Package for a Limited Time

June 24, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Sports

Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to share this promotion with our readers and received many emails wishing we had told them earlier.  My apologies.

But there is good news for those of you who missed out in January or didn’t make it back one month and dropped out of the program.  Table 301 has provided a “small window of opportunity” for those of you who missed out on the Table 301 Stimulus Package in January,

If you have never heard of Table 301, the organization is run by Carl Sobocinski. His restaurants include the fabulous Soby’s (new southern cuisine), Soby’s on the Side, The Loft at Soby’s, Devereaux’s (new age and southern cuisine), The Lazy Goat (Mediterannean, International), Table 301 Catering and opening later this summer, a new restaurant in the former Restaurant O.  The coupon is only valid at Soby’s, Devereaux’s, and The Lazy Goat.

Here’s the catch, if you go by June 30th, 2009 and use the coupon, you will receive another coupon to use the next month for $25 off your meal at another participating Table 301 restaurant.  And it continues through the end of the year.

Enjoy the meal and tell Carl, Gary sent you.

SC Ready to Sound the Alarm on H.R. 45

March 9, 2009 by  
Filed under SC Politics

So besides the hours the House spent debating and voting on our ever important state budget, what did the SC State House of Representatives accomplish before/after 108 members saw it necessary to accept the stimulus money instead of doing what the rest of America is doing, trimming down the fat.

H.3673 was introduced and referred to committee. The resolution expresses “the opposition of the General Assembly of South Carolina to the Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009 [H.R. 45] recently introduced in the United States Congress.”  Whew.

For those of you who don’t know, H.R. 45 (aka Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009) introduced by Congressman Bobby Rush (D -IL) would destroy our 2nd Amendment rights as we know it.  What does it require?  Here is a list just for starters.

Prohibits:

  1. transferring a firearm to any person other than a licensee, unless the transfer is processed through a licensed dealer in accordance with national instant criminal background check system requirements, with exceptions;
  2. a licensed manufacturer or dealer from failing to comply with reporting and record keeping requirements of this Act;
  3. failing to report the loss or theft of the firearm to the Attorney General within 72 hours;
  4. failing to report to the Attorney General an address change within 60 days; or
  5. keeping a loaded firearm, or an unloaded firearm and ammunition for the firearm, knowingly or recklessly disregarding the risk that a child is capable of gaining access, if a child uses the firearm and causes death or serious bodily injury.

Did I mention this requires most ammunition to be bar coded?

We spoke with Congressman Bob Inglis (R – SC) a few weeks ago about the bill and he didn’t give us a warm fuzzy feeling.  Bob Inglis is against the bill, but believes that Nancy Pelosi (D – CA) will push this through.  Our best hope is that pro gun democrats like college football star Heath Shuler (D – NC) and others will stand up and buck the gravy train.

H.3673 was referred to the committee on Invitations and Memorial Resolutions. Be sure to contact your representatives and ask them to sponsor this resolution.  We need to send this message loud and clear to Washington.  Here are the committee members:

Herb Kirsh Liston D. Barfield Don C. Bowen
Marion B. Frye Vida O. Miller

As for Spartanburg County, all but two Representatives had signed on as of 12:14am on March 10th.  Those Representatives are Harold Mitchell and Joey Millwood.

I am happy to see our General Assembly fighting for our rights guaranteed by the US Constitution.  I just wish these bills did more than just memorialize the US Congress.  It is our understanding this process has very little effect influencing Congress.  Maybe they will put some teeth into one of these bills and give the Attorney General the grounds to sue the US over this matter.

By the way, go to the NRA website and help them get on Congress’ case to not pass this bill.

UPDATE (5:04pm March 10):
Joey Millwood and Eric Bedingfield have also signed on to this legislation now.

SC State House Votes to Take Stimulus Monies

March 9, 2009 by  
Filed under News

That’s right, $350M Budget Stabilization Fund passed the house today on a 108-8 vote.

It was decided via amendment that federal stimulus money be used to fund the stabilization fund.

So, again, we have 108 House members deciding to go with the status quo and not take the perfect opportunity to reduce state government spending appropriately.

What happened to all they campaign hype of zero-based budgeting and responsible spending?

We’ll get more details on this bill when it is published to the journal, but here’s who voted against the bill.

Joey Millwood Eric Bedingfield Dan Hamilton
Garry Smith Wendy Nanney Thad Viers
Nathan Ballentine James Stewart