“Five People Control Hundreds of Things You Should Know About, and Don’t”


Governor Nikki Haley spoke at the Greenville County Republican Women’s Club luncheon, Thursday, and answered a series of challenging questions, including an explanation of why she endorsed and campaigned for Gov. Mitt Romney for president in the South Carolina primary.

The Governor gave a humorous overview of her turbulent experiences as a member of the State House, her campaign for governor and first year as chief executive of the Palmetto State.

As a member of the House, rising through the ranks of committee chairmanships and other positions of influence, Haley discovered that 92 percent of the house votes and 98 percent of the Senate votes were not recorded. She was determined to do something about it. She proposed legislation to improve transparency of legislative decisions and votes, and require all votes be publicly recorded for constituents to see. She and a colleague traveled around the state promoting the bill and the need for transparency and open government. Her activities did not go unnoticed by House leadership.

She had challenged the powerful leadership of the South Carolina General Assembly and must be penalized. She was stripped of all her committee assignments and positions of power and influence. She had been made an example of what happens when a junior member challenges the leadership. She now clearly had no immediate future in the South Carolina House, so she ran for Governor.

Her campaign for Governor was a rocky journey, but she won over a formidable group of Republican candidates and the best challenger the Democrats could produce.

More than a year into her four-year term as Governor, Haley has signed a transparency bill passed by both the House and Senate that makes most votes public.

She acknowledges that this is only a small part of what needs to be accomplished to make South Carolina Government work effectively and efficiently for the taxpayers of the state.

She is continuing to strive for a department of administration that Gov. Carroll Campbell wanted more than two decades earlier and that Gov. Mark Sanford failed to achieve in two terms.

The 5-member Budget and Control Board and their staff of about 1,000 are the “biggest mess I have ever seen,” Haley said. The Board, consisting of the Governor and four others, “control hundreds of things you should know about and don’t,” Haley said.

She gave examples of some of the things the Budget and Control Board staff does.

If a plumber is needed for the Governor’s Mansion, they can’t call a plumber. They must call the Budget and Control Board Staff, who hires and sends someone.

She said there has been a foul sewer odor in the house since Hodges was Governor and “the first day the Sanford family moved in.” The smell is still present despite the efforts of two Governors to get it taken care of.

The Chef needed a tube of Neosporin, the Budget and Control Board staff would not authorize that purchase and approved the purchase of a $65.00 first aid kit. Gov. Haley said, “forget it,” and purchased the tube of Neosporin for the chef.

Who is opposing the elimination of the Budget and Control Board and preventing placing the administrative functions in the department of administration under the Governor?

“It is a small group of Senators who oppose it. This is not about power. It is about accountability and this is about our being able to show the taxpayers how their money is being spent,” Governor Haley explained.

Governor Haley thanked the largest Republican Women’s Club in the state for their support in getting legislation passed and asked for their support in the future.

She said the hardest part of her job, other than calling the families of fallen military personnel, was dealing with the “negative culture we have to deal with that you can’t do this or you can’t do that.”

Gov. Haley talked about her budget and cutting income tax this year, and “phasing out corporate income tax over the next four years.”

“Next year we will hit property taxes.”

The Governor was asked how government could help small businesses.

“Small businesses make up 90 percent of our economy. Government can help by getting out of the way, reducing regulations, and reducing fees. You will see me appoint three conservative members to the Workers Comp Board.”

She said South Carolina is a great state and plugged her efforts to bring in new businesses, especially manufacturing. She said we now have three of the four largest tire producers in the world operating in South Carolina.

She did not fail to mention that unemployment has dropped to 9.5 percent, the lowest since December 2008.

She pledged her continued support of school choice for all children.

With $17 billion unfunded liability in the state retirement fund, the Governor said some changes must be made. The changes will include the program that allows state employees to retire and continue to work while drawing retirement pay. She also pledged: “No more special retirements for the General Assembly.” It was recently reported in the liberal media that several members of the South Carolina legislature are drawing retirement pay for serving in the legislature while continuing to serve.

Governor Haley was asked: “As a supporter of Gov. Romney, what is your opinion of Newt Gingrich?”

She first explained why she supported Romney.

“The hardest part of my job is dealing with the federal government. I don’t want anyone who has anything to do with the federal government.”

She listed the problems with President Obama. We passed an immigration bill, he challenged it. We passed a voter ID bill, he challenged it. She discussed the fiasco with the NLRB challenge to Boeing supported by Obama.

“I wanted a business person. I sat down with him and discussed the problems we were having with Washington.

“He promised support on illegal immigration, nuclear waste disposal or our money back.

“I made the decision to support Romney on what I thought would be best for South Carolina.

“What do I think of Newt Gingrich? I think anybody would be better than Barack Obama.

“I will continue to be pro-business, a union buster and work hard to make you proud,” Governor Haley concluded.

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Mike Scruggs