Flow Control – ‘Don’t Tread on Me’

Horry County is preparing to sue the State of South Carolina if the General Assembly passes into law legislation currently before the General Assembly that would eliminate the Horry County Solid Waste Authority’s flow control monopoly of the county’s solid waste stream.

In a far reaching debate last week on flow control, home rule and revenue streams, the county Administration Committee passed a motion to put a resolution before full council directing the county administrator and attorney to begin searching for a law firm to represent the county. The catch phrase is “The Don’t Tread on Me” resolution.

As usual in Horry County when the debate is on the SWA and/or flow control, the committee and council are framing the debate wrong.

Working on the Carolina Southern Railroad

A committee formed to discuss ways in which the Carolina Southern Railroad may be helped back into operation may be causing more problems than it can solve.

Formed as an informal, joint discussion committee between officials in the three counties served by Carolina Southern Railroad, it seems to have evolved into something entirely different.

According to committee meeting minutes, at least nine different city or county councils, from two states (North and South Carolina), have appointed members to what amounts to an informal committee.

By its November 7 meeting, the committee, now calling itself the Interstate Railroad Committee of North and South Carolina, was discussing a “budget” of $100,000 to be allocated among the three county governments represented – Horry and Marion in South Carolina and Columbus in North Carolina.

State Bills Would Outlaw Flow Control

Bills introduced in the South Carolina House and Senate at the beginning of this new legislative session would end the government enforced monopoly on solid waste disposal currently in force in Horry County.

For four years, the Horry County Solid Waste Authority, at its Hwy 90 landfill, has been the recipient of all solid waste generated within the county thanks to a flow control ordinance passed by Horry County Council in early 2009.

The ordinance was enacted because the SWA was losing money to private haulers that were able to dispose of construction and demolition waste more cheaply at private landfills in other counties.

Ethics Reform Discussion on Wrong Track

The current discussion on ethics reform for public officials in South Carolina appears to be veering off the main track that will establish public confidence in the governing process.

The discussion this week appears to be about additional funding for the S.C. Ethics Commission. Extra funding is necessary for this agency, which has been way underfunded for way too long.

According to ethics commission director Herb Hayden, approximately 70 percent of the funding for the agency’s budget comes from fees and fines.

Rep. John King, H 3108 and Getting Paid

Prefiled bills for a new legislative session are usually good for a laugh or two and this year is no different. But, one filed last week would give S.C. legislators a substantial increase in pay.

Our favorite this year is H 3108, a bill submitted by Rep. John King, (D-49). Simply put, King is looking for a pay raise.


Ethics Reform Commission Actions

Gov. Nikki Haley’s Ethics Reform Commission continued its work yesterday with another public hearing soliciting comments on how to reform and strengthen ethics laws in South Carolina.

The commission is scheduled to summarize comments and testimony January 8, 2013 and draft recommendations. On January 22nd it will discuss final recommendations and written report with January 28th being the date the report will be presented to the governor, the General Assembly and the public.

This all sounds great, but it probably isn’t going anywhere. It will take legislative action by the General Assembly and we don’t see that happening beyond some minor, face-saving measures being passed.

Bureaucracy vs. The Taxpayer

It’s great to talk about holding the line on taxes, cutting government spending and protecting taxpayer dollars but the real roadblock to fiscally responsible government is the giant bureaucracy built up over the last several decades.

A great example is the current response from government workers being asked to pay a minimal increase in their taxpayer funded healthcare costs.

Make us pay $7.24 per month more in premiums for our health insurance? “No way,” state workers said and immediately sued state government.

Economic Development Incentives and You

One of the biggest ripoffs of American taxpayers comes in the form of economic development incentives given to businesses under the guise of job creation.

This is something we hear about every week, but the cost to the individual taxpayer is never considered.

It has gotten to the point that companies and the governments they negotiate with consider job creation something that should be subsidized by taxpayers.

Businesses understand any expense they can transfer to taxpayers will make the bottom line look better. Government interference in the marketplace is to be avoided at all costs except when business can shift expenses to government.

Ethics Reform Task Force Initiative

S. C. Attorney General Alan Wilson is reportedly moving ahead with ethics reform planning with a proposed public corruption task force for South Carolina.

Wilson met Wednesday with members of the House Republican Caucus Ethics Study Committee to outline his plans for a new Public Integrity Unit.

Wilson wants the General Assembly to pass new enabling legislation that would outline the duties, responsibilities and authority of the proposed unit.

Electronic Communications Privacy Act

One more nail in the coffin of liberty is being prepared in Washington as Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy’s rewrite of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act is scheduled for a vote next week.

Despite the misleading name, the rewritten bill would allow 22 federal agencies unlimited access to email accounts without a search warrant and without notifying either the account owner or a judge.

This is just another example of how the federal government is solidifying its position as the ever watchful ‘Big Brother.’

The rewritten bill will not be as egregious as other federal government initiatives since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.