As we endure this economic crisis and South Carolina shifts from second to third highest unemployment in the nation, job creation and economic development is one of the biggest issues confronting our state. The problem lies in that we cannot create jobs until we build an environment suitable to economic growth. We need to cut taxes on South Carolina's working families because when you have more money to spend, it results in stimulating our economy and creating jobs. We further need to cut income taxes on small businesses so that they can invest in new employees. This cannot be achieved until we put the General Assembly on a fiscal diet. We must rein in wasteful spending and create measures that generate true transparency.
The most common-sense approach to the above goals is a constitutional cap on state spending. I have continuously supported this measure because it's the only way to ensure
that the General Assembly does not grow its budget more than your wallet every year. It is a simple concept. South Carolina is growing as more people move into our state. This means government services will slightly expand. Natural inflation also grows the budget every year. Government however should not grow beyond these indicators. I, therefore, support a constitutional cap on state spending based on a formula equal to population growth plus inflation.
Earlier this year the issues of transparency and "on the record" voting were hotly discussed. The topic of earmarks, because of Senator Jim DeMint's crusade at the federal level, also entered the mainstream. As a result of these issues, I helped promote a measure that requires our State Representatives to put their names on every earmark they request. The effect of the measure is our constituents know exactly which politicians are inserting pork barrel waste into the state budget.
This year I was one of the General Assembly members supporting Representative Nikki Haley's push for "on the record voting." Currently members of the House and Senate may vote for legislation with a voice vote. Put simply, the Speaker of the House calls for a vote and members respond with "yea" or "nae." The loudest response wins. An effect of this method is that you do not know which way your Representative voted. I think this is an accountability issue.
The first week of the 2009 session, we passed a rules change that requires voting on the record for every spending project. Although this is a good first step, I am also supporting a bill that makes on the record voting required by law. This is the only way to ensure this change is permanent and thus strengthening government accountability to our constituents.