Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Haley to educators: No raises. Now get back to work.

I don't know how Governor Nikki Haley does it all.

She must be working 20-hour days on our behalf, traveling here and there -- even several days last week to New Hampshire, probably trying to bring some of its jobs down here -- and having to escort former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney everywhere he goes (he's so needy), all the while managing to raise her children, and keep up with sending instructions to the Governor's Mansion chef for staff birthday cakes, and attend all these debates where she knows the cameras will expect her, and still finding time to cut taxes for the wealthy and denigrate South Carolina's public employees with her trademark devilish style.

And throughout it all, she looks as fresh as morning dew. Vice presidential, even?

If only pesky matters like fiscal crises, chronic high unemployment, public employees' expectations, the ubiquitous Curtis Loftis, John Rainey with his "purer-than-Caesar's-wife" principles, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio's electoral attractiveness to a national ticket would just go away, Haley's world would be perfect.

As it is, she has a small, mostly rural, mostly poor, red state to run. Or manage. Or preside over. Whatever.

And she has wealthy corporate interests to protect, which is always more fun than dealing with the rabble.

So, her priorities are in order.

Number one, protect wealthy corporate interests...

Corporations and people would get a break on their income taxes

and undermine public employees...

and public workers in South Carolina would go a fourth year without a pay raise under a budget proposal Gov. Nikki Haley released Friday.

AND dismantle the essential institution of public education a little more...

Haley's recommendations for a $5.7 billion state budget for 2012-13 would reduce a key funding stream for public schools that primarily pays teachers' salaries,

while throwing more money at a costlier alternative to traditional public schools...

while adding $10 million for charter schools.

Throw a bone to her "law-and-order" supporters...

She wants to add about 100 law enforcement officers and several family court judges, and put money toward mental health treatment.

and pour salt into public employees' wounds, in hopes they'll quit and go somewhere else!

Haley said state employees should look for a raise in 2013-14.

"You can't give everything you want to give. Do I want state employees to have more? Yes. Was this year the year to do it? No," Haley told reporters. "I think they deserve it. We have some of the hardest-working state employees out there. What's more important is we get these agencies in order, and we give them stronger agencies to go into every day."

Tell her former fellow lawmakers -- the whiners, criers, moaners and groaners -- what to do, and one-up that wishy-washy Mark Sanford at the same time -- a two-fer! --

Haley, a former state House member, recognized that legislators ignored former Gov. Mark Sanford's executive budgets, but she said she wants budget-writers to use her budget as a template.

And buff her bona fides as Friend of the Taxpayer...

Haley, who didn't propose a budget her first year, has said repeatedly that she wants additional revenue to either pay down debt or be returned to taxpayers.

Whew. That's a lot of accomplishment in one document.

The sweetest part of it has to be depriving South Carolina's children from access to quality public education. After all, parents of public schoolchildren probably don't support her agenda as intensely as parents whose children attend private schools, or who home-school their children. You have to look after your friends.

Haley's plan would cut $76 million from a pot of education money distributed based on district property tax values. Haley vetoed that money last year, when legislators used one-time money to boost the so-called base student cost to $1,880 per student, but they overrode those vetoes. Budget cuts over the past few years have cut into that per-student allocation, which is supposed to be $2,790 per a state funding formula.

Haley's budget would take base student cost to less than $1,790 per student.

Which is sheer sweetness. So what if the law requires appropriation of $2,790 per student this year? Law is only law -- black ink on white paper -- and it does what it's told. Who's going to make her and the legislature obey the law? The state Supreme Court? ...And what army?

Face it: In South Carolina, Haley IS the law. The sooner legislators get that, and fall in line, the better -- for themselves as well as for the state. When Nikki Haley becomes Vice President of the United States, or Secretary of This-R-That, these peons are gonna wish they'd been in line from the start.

And we can take that to the bank.

Now get back to work. Mitt's calling.


  1. Its time for all workers toband together and form a Union where as a whole we can fight for our rights

  2. Its time for all workers toband together and form a Union where as a whole we can fight for our rights

  3. Let's talk about destroying public education in South Carolina.

    Education for about 60% of all students in South Carolina begins with a school bus ride. That will soon change.

    Ms. Haley is gutting the school bus maintenance system that has served the people of this state with very low costs and safe transportation in spite of the old buses provided by the legislature.

    Most school bus shops in South Carolina provide this service at a cost of 12-18 cents a mile.
    It is unlikely that school districts or contractors will be able to do the same especially if a contractors 30% profit on top of the cost of doing business is added in.

    School districts and their contractors will have to streamline the service to keep costs in line which will mean an immediate change in the quality of service. Bus stops will be placed further apart, children will walk farther to their stop placing them at increased risk from predators, speeding vehicles, drug addicts and other threats. In some cases rural areas will receive no school bus service at all because it would cost the contractor too much money to run a bus out to the rural areas of our counties.

    For Ms. Haley this is about keeping a campaign promise and rewarding a political donor.

    When districts and for profit contractors get involved costs will skyrocket. Ms. Haley knows that the cost to provide transportation to students will increase....but that's OK because school districts can raise the tax millage to compensate and their is nothing the taxpayers can do to stop it. So, South Carolina citizens....get ready.....you will be paying more thanks to Ms. Haley.

    Remember Charleston. They used to run the bus routes in-house for $ million dollars a year. Three years later the same service run by a contractor costs 8 million dollars a year. Who got the tax bill?....the tax payers of Charleston.

    Remember the bus maintenance pilot program run by a contractor in Mt. Pleasant? Cost overruns of $200,000 a year and 40 buses carrying our children to school with bald tires on the buses.

    This is a bad idea.

    The legislature needs to fund the 15 year bus replacement cycle like they promised and let the state employees....who have no profit motive....keep doing the good job they have done for the past 30 years.

    The reason why South Carolina is the only state owned and operated school bus system is because it has been done so well, for so little, by so few, for so long.