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SC Club for Growth released its 2007-2008 South Carolina Legislative Scorecard

October 14, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Matt Moore

(803) 454-1134

October 14, 2008 – Today, SC Club for Growth released its 2007-2008 South Carolina Legislative Scorecard, awarding the Taxpayer Champion award to five senators and five representatives earning top grades.  Legislators’ ratings (view scorecard here) are based on critical economic votes in the House and Senate in the following categories:

– Controlling taxes and government spending, 45%

– Restructuring and other “good government” issues, 30%

– Legal issues and tort reform, 15%

– Increased school choice, 10%

“Taxpayers deserve to know how their elected leaders are performing. That’s why we diligently track how state legislators are voting on important issues.  Those issues impact all South Carolinians and the public deserves to know who is truly fighting for lower taxes, limited government and more personal economic freedom,” said Matt Moore, executive director of SC Club for Growth.

Efforts to score both chambers were hampered by the continued absence of roll call voting on important bills.  A recent South Carolina Policy Council study shows that during the 2008 legislative session, only 5% of bills passed received a roll call vote.  Legislation proposed by Taxpayer Champions Shane Massey in the Senate and Nathan Ballentine and Nikki Haley in the House would increase the number of recorded votes.  Others named Taxpayer Champions include Kevin Bryant, Chip Campsen, Larry Grooms and Greg Ryberg in the Senate and Eric Bedingfield, Jeff Duncan and Mick Mulvaney in the House.

The Clubs 2007-2008 scorecard also includes votes on the legislatures refusal to end the government program that newspaper editorial writers continue to call a “legislative slush fund.”  The program has spent tens of millions in recent years on a variety of festivals, parades and other wasteful pork projects.  Lowlights of recent competitive grants spending include wasting taxpayer dollars on an “Elvis impersonator,” a hot-air balloon festival and a beach vacation for 100 German tourists.

Nearly half of legislators received a grade of “F.”  Commenting on that fact, Moore also said, “The legislature has continually ignored Governor Sanfords warnings in growing state spending by over 40% in the past few years, so it is not surprising to see so many legislators with poor grades.  Their failure to stand up for taxpayers has led to our state’s current budget crisis.”  Other notes:

– About 14% of legislators in both chambers earned a grade of “A” or “B.”

– In the Senate, the average Republican scored a 50 out of 100 while the average Democrat scored a measly 6.

– Scores were slightly higher in the House, where the average Republican scored a 54 and the average Democrat scored a 13.

The 2007-2008 legislative session led to a nearly unprecedented number of retirements and the defeat of an unusually high number of incumbents (9) in the June 2008 primaries.  “I think it’s clear the significant changes in the legislature are due to taxpayers being fed up with wasteful spending and no accountability.  With so many new faces in the legislature next year, I am optimistic that our state will adopt more reform-minded, fiscally conservative policies,” added Moore.

SC Club for Growth’s annual scorecards are made possible through the generosity of hundreds of South Carolina taxpayers who are concerned with the direction of our state.

Visit SC Club for Growth online at http://www.SCClubforGrowth.com.

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