We voted against H. 3560, the General Appropriations Bill, for several reasons. First, the bill reflects a complete lack of prioritization. Public Safety agencies including SLED, DPS and Corrections are gutted while local projects and secondary or even tertiary government functions, receive adequate funding. Public education suffers an unnecessary cut that truly reflects a false choice between classroom teachers and other functions of government. The falsehood of the premise that teachers must lose their jobs because of the current level of state revenue offends the sensibility of those who truly view public education as a core mission of state government.
Second, the plethora of amendments offered to shore up Public Safety with surplus money in reserve funds or other bureaucracies were tabled by overwhelming votes which reflected the absolute indifference of the Senate toward the first priority of a democratic government, the safety of its citizens.
Third, amendments to this budget which espouse, invite and demand the acceptance of the outstanding stimulus money do nothing less than usurp not only the Constitution of South Carolina but also the organic sensibilities of a free people. The decision, in this budget, of the Senate of South Carolina, to demand that the governor exercise a right that both state and federal law, along with more than one legal opinion, leave solely to his discretion leaves all who believe in the separation of powers in dismay.
Thomas Paine noted in 1776 that, “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered.” The destruction of the wall between the legislative and executive branches, a wall not very high and not very strong in the beginning, simply reveals that the status of South Carolina as a legislatively-dominated state lives on with the passage of this budget—indeed that status is cemented. The tyranny of the majority lives on in South Carolina, but we stand in defiance. Bright, Bryant, Grooms, Mulvaney, Rose, Ryberg, Shoopman, Verdin