minority report on s.1431 raising debt ceiling for port dredging

In the near future the Panama Canal will be expanded to allow new, larger super tankers. Currently, the Port of Charleston cannot handle these large ships, and everyone agrees that dredging is a great option to help expand the port’s ability to accommodate these larger ships.

This year, the SC House appropriated $180m to dredge the Port of Charleston which would be added to a Federal match totaling the needed $300m. The $180m is funds on hand.

S.1431 is a bill that will commit the extra $120m if the Feds don’t deliver on the match. I understand if SC informs potential port customers that we’ve committed $300m to the dredging, it would be a great benefit.

However, s.1431 raises SC’s debt ceiling and allows the issuance of bonds. Now haven’t we seen this movie before?

I am 100% in favor of the port expansion, however I am 100% opposed to heaping $120m to the already $32b of debt on our future generations.

In the Senate we have a parliamentary maneuver called a “minority report” that is rarely used. It’s what I call the nuclear option. I’ve only authored 2 minority reports in my 2 terms in the Senate as it should be used very selectively.

Being the only “no” vote on Senate Finance today, I had no other option than to sign a minority report on s.1431 and will not ask the required “unanimous consent” to remove it until we find cash on hand to fund this critical project.

This is the oldest trick in the book for politicians. They raise taxes (borrowing is raising taxes on your children) on a very popular, important project, then when you’re not looking, they fund pork projects behind your back.

20120417-163051.jpg