May 16 2013
May 14 2013
Our speaker for our May meeting will be Anderson County state senator Kevin Bryant. Senator Bryant will bring us up to date on the serious legislation passing through the SC General Assembly this year. Including Obamacare and nullification as well as legislation Senator Bryant is sponsoring. Come join us !
May 9 2013
As the first city in the United States to have a continuous supply of electric power, Anderson, South Carolina, has always been out front in setting the standard. The city’s embrace of public art as a necessary component of downtown is just another example of the city’s leadership. The South Carolina Heritage Corridor recently noted that “of all the communities along the Heritage Corridor, the City of Anderson embraces public art the best.” Through judicious use of resources and carefully cultivated partnerships, the City of Anderson sets a standard for public art in South Carolina.
Congratulations to Mayor Terence Roberts, his administration, and the Anderson Arts Center.
May 8 2013
Opposition to s.339, Interior Design Licensure
If YOU want to design YOUR home, I’m not interested in telling YOU who YOU can hire (with YOUR money) for assistance. This is not a core function of government. Below is a letter we’ve received from the National Kitchen & Bath Association.
Dear Senator Bryant: Please accept the attached letter on behalf of the National Kitchen & Bath Association and its more than 830 members in the State of South Carolina voicing our strong opposition to unnecessary licensing of the interior design profession.
This bill is being advanced by a small group of interior designers who seek to fence out the competition and benefit themselves economically by virtue of the passage of a licensing bill which the vast majority of interior designers will not qualify for. There is absolutely no need for the State to add to the regulatory burdens on small businesses by establishing new occupational licensing laws on a profession that has worked for decades without public concern or harm, and where the public is already protected by virtue of the State’s building and permitting codes, rules and regulations.
Passage of this Bill will negatively impact thousands of designers, contractors, retail showrooms and trades, make it more difficult for independent designers, the majority of whom are woman, to work and remain in business, and disproportionately impact minorities and second career switchers who will find themselves shut out from entering the design field.
Thank you for your consideration of our position, and of course, if we can provide you with any additional information or testimony, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Respectfully, Edward Nagorsky
May 7 2013
Thursday 05.02.2013, a gas tax proposal passed the Senate Finance Committee (SFC). The proposal is to tie the gas tax to inflation and its proponents argue that this is not a tax hike. However, your taxes will go up. Some are also claiming this isn’t a tax at all, it is user fee.
Listen, y’all know I opposed raising taxes. I also find it very interesting that when YOU pay more taxes next year than YOU did this year, It’s a tax increase plain and simple.
This is what I meant as I was quoted in last weeks Real Clear Politics Article:
“We have a pretty significant R.I.N.O. problem in South Carolina — folks that are elected go to constituents and talk about how conservative they are, and then when it’s time to vote, they hold hands with Democrats and vote for more government and tax increases. Maybe Sen. Paul and Sen. Cruz will rub off when they’re both down here. I hope so.”
The article was in reference to upcoming visits by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky). Both these Senators found defending our civil liberties on drone usage was a better use of their time than wining and dining with President Obama a few weeks ago. I’m hoping their visit can rub off on the legislature.
This bill has 3 major obnoxious components:
1-It make the gas tax proportional to inflation. So when your bread, milk, and eggs increase in cost, your gas tax goes up. How in the world are we going to climb out of this stagnant economy?
2-It ties local road funding to tax increases. That’s right, it rewards local governments that choose to smother their constituents tax hikes. If they do, it get’s more funding.
3-It hefts $1.4 billion of new debt on future generations. Unfunded liabilities on the Federal level are hovering near $122 trillion, and little ole SC is at $32 billion. Evidently, that’s not enough debt for some of my colleagues.
May 6 2013
There are several motives behind new regulation in the General Assembly. One is to protect the public and another is to protect the monopoly. I normally look at new regulation with great suspicion. This picture hangs on the wall in our office in the Gressette Building, just to reinforce how we view the role of government. As you’ll agree, free market forces are much more effective than nanny government regulation.
“To widen the market and narrow the competition is always the interest of the dealers. The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order ought always be listened to…with the most suspicious attention. Adam Smith – The Wealth of Nations, Book 1, p. 267
May 6 2013
Late Thursday afternoon, a motion was made for South Carolina to follow the provision in the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare) and expand Medicaid coverage. The motions was tabled along party lines. I’ve been contacted by constituents asking me to vote in favor of the expansion so the full Senate can debate it. There is no bill that expands Medicaid, the amendment was on the appropriations bill (the budget).
When the appropriations bill is debated by they full Senate (approximately 2 weeks), the amendment may be offered again for a full up or down vote by the Senate.
May 3 2013
With all the news about college graduates having student loan debt problems, it appear that some colleges are running into financial difficulty, and even closing their doors. Jim Kappler recently sent the following information to Anderson County legislators that summarizes the financial sustainability of 1700 colleges and universities in the United States, including 32 in South Carolina. Jim also prepared a graph and table that show the financial trend of the SC colleges mentioned in the report.
Anderson County Legislators,
The information presented below about colleges having financial trouble, including several in South Carolina, brings up the following questions that you will likely have consider as legislators, if the trends presented come to pass:
* Colleges have closed in other states from financial difficulty. What is the likelihood of any South Carolina college or university having its finances deteriorate to the point where it will have to close?
* What is the likelihood of a South Carolina college asking for a “bailout” from the General Assembly?
* Is any South Carolina college or university “too big to fail”, and would the General Assembly “bail out” that college, or let its doors close?
* What would be the impact on the SC higher education system and taxpayers of having the entire student enrollment of a failed college transferring to other SC colleges? How would other SC colleges accommodate this?
* If a college closed, how would this impact the local area businesses that rely on that college for employee training and education?
Why some small colleges are in big trouble
In an analysis of the financial records of 1,700 US colleges and universities, the Boston-based consulting firm Bain & Company estimated that one-third of them were on an unsustainable financial path, with operating costs increasing faster than endowment returns and other revenues could cover them. This is a problem the colleges can no longer solve, as they once did, by simply increasing tuition.
Analysis of the financial records of 1,700 US colleges and universities
(Excerpt- List of trouble signs for a college or university at financial risk)
You might be at risk if….
1. You are not a top-ranked institution
• Your admissions yield has fallen and it’s costing you more to attract students
• Median salaries for your graduates have been ﬂ at over a number of years
• Your endowment is in the millions not billions, and a large percentage is restricted
2. Your ﬁnancial statements don’t look as good as they used to
• Your debt expense has been increasing far more rapidly than your instruction expense
• Your property, plant and equipment (PP&E) asset is increasing faster than your revenue
• You have seen a decline in net tuition revenue
• Tuition represents an increasingly greater percentage of your revenue
• Your bond rating has gone down
• You are having trouble accessing the same level of government funding
3. You have had to take drastic measures
• You are consistently hiking tuition to the top end of the range
• You have had to lower admissions standards
• You have had to cut back on ﬁnancial aid
• You have reduced your faculty head count
Interactive point and click matrix showing financial trends of colleges and universities
(Additional images showing SC colleges below)
This matrix is a trend analysis, displaying the direction of the higher education industry’s macroeconomic health.
The matrix displays the trend of each institution’s financial sustainability, using views of the institution’s balance sheet (equity ratio) and income statement (expense ratio) to indicate whether an institution’s financial position is getting stronger or weaker. The financial sustainability of institutions in the upper right (red) sections is deteriorating. The sustainability of institutions in the lower left (green) sections is improving.
The matrix does not represent an institution’s absolute financial position because it does not measure its starting point nor ending point. Instead, it shows, over a five-year period, whether these institutions were moving toward a more sustainable financial future or toward a less sustainable one.
The color coded image below shows the above table with 32 South Carolina colleges ranked as:
Green: These colleges and universities are financially sound according to the latest available data (41%)
Yellow: These colleges and universities are at risk of slipping into an unsustainable financial condition (25%)
Red: These colleges and universities have been on an unsustainable financial path in recent years (34%)
The graph shown below is a plot of each college’s Asset Ratio change vs. Expense Ratio change over the last few years. Areas on the graph are color coded Green (Sound or Improving), Yellow (at risk of deteriorating), and Red (not sustainable) as above to indicate how the colleges finances are trending.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
May 2 2013
Our friends over at the South Carolina Policy Council have begun a “project conflict”. They’ve asked legislators to voluntarily disclose all sources of income over $1,000 as it is their view that it should be law. Currently, the only source of income I have that meets this criteria is already current law. Because of state contracts (Medicaid, State Health Plan), I have to disclose that I am president of Bryant Pharmacy & Supply and I disclose the amounts of these contracts. You can look this up here.
Here’s what they are asking:
Report any paid, private-source positions held by you and your spouse (please list name in parentheses and identify as spouse); and generating at least $1,000 in income from Jan. 1, 2012, to the present date. Freshman legislators: Please report paid, private-source positions held by you and your spouse from Nov. 6, 2012, to the present date. Positions include, but are not limited to, those of an officer, director, trustee, general partner, proprietor, representative, employee or consultant of any corporation, firm, partnership or other business enterprise; or any paid positions with private nonprofit organizations or private educational institutions. Lawyer-legislators: Please list the primary areas of legal practice for your law firm under the heading titled, “Type of Organization.” Do not report any paid positions with state or local government entities for you or your spouse.
Report the source and type of earned (salary, wages, contracts, consulting fees, etc.) and investment income (dividends, capital gains, rent, etc.; for stocks, please list names of companies; for rental property, please describe type of property and give address) of at least $1,000 for you and your spouse (please list name in parentheses and identify as spouse) from Jan. 1, 2012, to the present date. Freshman legislators: Please report sources of earned and investment income of at least $1,000 for you and your spouse from Nov. 6, 2012, to the present date. No dollar amount of earned or investment income needs to be specified for you or your spouse. Do not report income from any state or local government entity in South Carolina for you or your spouse.
When do we stop and where do we draw the line? I have mixed feelings about some of this discussion, but as always I’m all ears. The South Carolina Legislature is a part time position. Most members of the General Assembly have other jobs. I think its a good thing. It is healthy to leave the intoxicating atmosphere in Columbia every week and spend a couple of days working in the real world. If and when we strengthen these requirements, it probably won’t affect me personally, however, I struggle with the notion of mandatory disclosure for business associations that are not remotely affected by South Carolina Statute. One of my colleagues noted that this information could be used by a competitor unfairly. Also, should non-conflicting interests of our spouses be public? Feel free to post your thoughts.
May 1 2013
(by Kelsey Farnham) Senator Bryant has been the legislative sponsor for TeenPact 2013 in South Carolina. TeenPact is an organization with a mission to train youth to understand the political process, value their liberty, defend the Christian faith, and engage in culture at a time in their lives when, typically, they do not care about such things.
Each year, a group of students ages 13-18, come to Columbia for a four day camp where students meet important officials, interview lobbyists, analyze legislation, discuss current events, pray for their leaders, improve their public speaking skills, write their own bills, and conduct their own TeenPact legislature. Classes are fast-paced, hands-on, and create dynamic experiences where a vision is casted for citizenship and students are coaxed out of their comfort zones.
Senator Bryant Introduced this year’s group of TeenPact students as a group of South Carolina’s brightest upcoming leaders from the Senate floor on Tuesday. He also spoke at their end of week graduation. After the students acted out their mock legislation with their own personal written bills, Senator Bryant gave some real life experiences and examples of bills going through the Senate this week. He talked about causes that he’s been advocating for throughout his term and spoke on the challenges of living out a genuine ‘salt of the world’ life in the Senate. He congratulated the students on finishing the leadership school, encouraged them to get involved with a political party, cause, or campaign, and motivated them as they left with a quote on persistence by 30th president Calvin Coolidge.