Legislative Roundup 2009 — Speaker Bobby Harrell
Bobby Harrell – Speaker of the House
Times are tough. But from the beginning of this legislative session, the South Carolina House Republican Caucus has been committed to growing South Carolina’s economy, creating jobs and making government more efficient.
That’s why I’m writing you today.
In 2009, House Republicans passed legislation that would prevent voter fraud, safeguard religious freedom in South Carolina, reduce cumbersome red tape regulation of small businesses, protect the unborn and protect workers’ rights against big labor bosses. I am proud of these accomplishments and others.
As you know, this year marked one of the most difficult budget years our state has ever faced. Hardworking families across South Carolina are feeling the pinch. And like any family, House Republicans prioritized our state budget and made responsible fiscal decisions that reflect our conservative values.
House Republicans were determined to balance the budget – and do so by cutting government spending instead of raising taxes. That’s precisely what we did by cutting waste and increasing efficiencies, even as Democrats fought us tooth and nail.
We took other measures to save taxpayers across South Carolina. By adjourning early and taking 5 additional furlough weeks, the House saved taxpayers over $400,000. This – combined with a hiring freeze, staff furloughs and salary cuts, printing cost reductions, utilization of Internet services, and many other cost saving measures – greatly reduced operating costs and saved taxpayers well over $1 million.
I would be remiss if I didn’t address the debate surrounding the so-called stimulus bill that passed the Democrat Congress. A vast majority of House Republicans strongly opposed the ‘so-called’ stimulus bill. If I’d been in Congress, I would’ve joined our Republican congressional delegation in voting against it. But the fact remains that it passed, and lawmakers decided to utilize these funds marked for education and law enforcement instead of sending South Carolina’s money to other states because our citizens would have to pay it back either way.
Many of us thought the idea of paying off debt was a good one, but we have been told twice in writing from Washington that would not be allowed, and our money would end up going to other states if we did not use it in the budget. That’s why we chose to use it primarily for education and law enforcement.
Because of our actions our students will have teachers in their classrooms, police will remain on the streets and prisoners will stay behind bars. With South Carolinians responsible for the repayment of this money, we owed it to our students, teachers, police officers and citizens to make this responsible decision.
I look forward to hearing from you. Your voice drives debate in Columbia. Please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime I can be of assistance.
Speaker, S.C. House of Representatives