s.1431 Port bonding bill passes Senate

This week, I received unanimous consent to remove my minority report from s. 1431, borrowing plan to dredge the Port of Charleston.

The project to dredge the Charleston Port will cost approximately $300 million ($180 state and possibly $120 million Federal). The SC House committed $180 million of funds on hand. S.1432 would raise the debt ceiling and borrow $120 million to fund the Port of Charleston dredging if the Federal Government does not send the $120m. I didn’t vote for it, but it got 2nd and 3rd reading. I voted “nay” on both readings, but it passed.

Why did I do this? I’ve gotten a firm commitment from Leadership that there will be an additional debt payment of $20 million on a unfunded liability, opeb. This is the other post employment benefit for state retirees. I wanted a guarantee of the same payment for the next 5 years equaling the $120 million, but I could not get this.

The votes for special order are there and the votes for cloture (if I filibustered) are there too. I’ll chalk this up as a tiny victory for the taxpayers of future generations. However, I think we’ve exposed the debt problem we have in this state and hopefully, we can continue this debate, and give our children less debt.