16 Jan A Business Plan For 2017
For the past two years, I’ve been keeping our district informed of happenings at the South Carolina State House through the internet and social media, but not everyone has the inclination to get their information in this way. At the beginning of this year, I sat down and visited with Polly Lowman about the possibility of providing you with updates from the South Carolina Legislature for the North Myrtle Beach Times. She was (as always) gracious in saying, yes, so it will be my goal and pleasure to do so!
This past Tuesday was the first week back in session for the General Assembly. We returned to the capital city with important issues to tackle and a shorter period of time in which to accomplish them. As a conservative, I applaud the now shorter legislative session because it means savings for SC taxpayers by forcing more efficiency in government – I am thankful for this historic change in how we’ll conduct the people’s business and also the trust you have placed in me to represent you in Columbia.
Last Wednesday, Governor Nikki Haley gave her final State of the State Address. About an hour before her address, I was sitting in the House Chamber catching up on a few emails – it was quiet and only a couple of people were present setting up the teleprompter for her speech when Governor Haley popped in for a quick mic check. She was gracious enough to say hello to me and I wished her well in her new role as UN Ambassador.
Instead of a typically long Caucus Agenda, SC House Republicans have issued a “Business Plan” for the 2017 legislative session focusing on job retention and growth. Each item contained in the succinct business plan directly affects an existing job or a future job. This smaller agenda allows us to focus on real priorities that require our serious debate:
- Education Reform: Legislation is being written to correct our state’s education system which does not currently afford every child the same equally proficient education. We will fix the law so every child in South Carolina receives a 21stCentury education no matter what zip code they live in. By doing so, we ensure each child is prepared for life in the workforce.
- Retirement Solvency: It’s no secret our state’s retirement system needs a major course correction, and quickly, as it must continue to meet the needs of our public employees. Our state’s greatest assets are our people; from law enforcement to our teachers. We owe them an adequate retirement, and that promises made to public employees will be kept.
- Fixing our Roads & Bridges: Last year the House passed a comprehensive SCDOT restructuring/sustainable funding bill. While the Senate came up a few votes shy of passing comprehensive legislation, we have heard the demands from constituents and will re-double our efforts this year to once again pass a meaningful SCDOT reform/funding bill to address our crumbling infrastructure and remain competitive in economic development.
- Workforce Development: Employers have been telling SC there is a shortage of skilled workers to fill job openings. We will engage our K-12 education system to give parents the option for students to receive the specialized training necessary for a career in technology, manufacturing, or another field requiring analytical thinking skills.
- Real Tax Reform: House Speaker Jay Lucas appointed a special committee tasked with updating our existing tax code. The committee is currently designing a proposal that will move us further from an income based tax code while simultaneously moving toward a consumption based tax code. The result is a flatter and fairer tax code for all taxpayers.
In the coming weeks, Caucus members will reach out to their constituents to prioritize this agenda. Thank you for the privilege of serving you in Columbia. If I can ever be of assistance to you, or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with the rest of the General Assembly, please don’t hesitate to contact me.