Saturday, July 2, 2011

Anderson editors: Haley is "short-sighted and politically motivated"

The editors of the Anderson Independent Mail called Thursday's showdown in the legislature "high noon in Columbia." Their editorial in yesterday's edition spells out their amazement at the governor's contempt toward, and disregard of, the educational services provided by the state's public schools and South Carolina Educational Television.

And in no small measure, the editors were clearly pleased with the legislature's handiwork in overriding the governor's vetoes.

They write, in brief,

It’s almost stunning how Haley fails to see the connection between economic development, tourism (our state’s biggest moneymaker), quality of life and job training. Remember how she boasted of her efforts with Boeing? The job training she cut from the budget included $13 million for training at our technical colleges for Boeing workers. Even the CEO of Boeing understands how the arts and business complement each other: “At Boeing, innovation is our lifeblood. The arts inspire innovation by leading us to open our minds and think in new ways about our lives — including the work we do, the way we work and the customers we serve,” James McNerney told Psychology Today. He understands what we have long maintained: Businesses create jobs and facilities in communities that value the arts and education and provide a good quality of life for employees.

Earlier, according to an email from Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, “As noted by Gov. Haley in her press conference on Tuesday, there is ‘no pork included in this year’s budget.’”

Yet when it came down to it, Haley apparently reversed that opinion. In the case of SCETV, Haley’s veto was puzzling — and apparently puzzled lawmakers as well. Both the House and Senate overwhelmingly overrode the veto.
What a disappointment that the governor fails to see what SCETV has done for South Carolina. In addition to entertaining and educating even the most casual viewer and listener on television and radio, many of its contributions benefit public schools through student programming and continuing education for teachers. (Maybe that explains it.)

Haley said she “appreciates SCETV,” according to the Associated Press. Funny way to show it.

While Haley’s desire to reduce state debt with the additional tax revenues is admirable, her alternative plan to “send the money back to taxpayers” wouldn’t be much of a windfall for the individual citizen. The money is better spent to keep teachers in the classrooms and improve public education.

Haley noted regarding her vetoes that it was time to concentrate on the classroom and students. We couldn’t agree more. Putting $56 million of the $210 million in additional tax revenues back into the mix makes that all the more likely.

Haley is showing she is serious about cutting spending, but at what cost? Retained in the state budget without veto are reductions in spending for the people who can least afford it — the poor, the elderly and the disabled — and a raise for lawmakers that sends a dangerous message to voters: We don’t feel your pain. Despite that, with its support in overriding Haley’s vetoes, the General Assembly is clearly saying that even in hard financial times public education still matters in this state.
Haley’s emailed statement at the end of the day was short and to the point: “It’s a shame that the General Assembly chose to spend more tax dollars than we can reasonably afford.” This, despite her earlier contention that the budget “contained no pork.” The statement continued: “Ultimately, the citizens of our state will decide whether they want a legislature that spends less than was done this year.”

Ultimately, the citizens of our state will also decide if they want a shortsighted and politically motivated governor or one who considers people’s lives as carefully as she professes to consider their wallets.

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