Egg-tooth Stormtroopers Prepare for Budget Battle
House Ways & Means Chairman Dan "Egg-tooth" Cooper is marshalling his intergalactic forces for a brewing budget battle with Gov. Mark Sanford.
On the line - in addition to the fate of the Universe - is $624 million in new revenue generated by South Carolina's improving economy, of which Cooper wants to spend, well, every last nickel.
The governor wants to spend just $300 million of the surplus money, and rebate the difference back to South Carolina taxpayers in the amount of about $400 per family.
"I'm with the Tooth, spend it all," said state Rep. Annette "The Emperor" Young. "The governor and his merry band of fiscally-responsible Ewoks are about to see the Empire strike back, provided I can find a designated driver for this Death Star contraption, of course."
Cooper's budget represents a 12-16% increase in spending from last year, which itself was a 9.1% increase from the year before. All told, South Carolina has increased government spending by an astronomical (note the Star Wars theme continuing) 156% over the last fifteen years, more than doubling the combined growth in population plus inflation over that same time period.
And speaking of doubling, Cooper's proposed spending plan would put our total state budget at $6.3 billion, twice what it was just 10 years ago.
Yet among the legislature, the "Force" appears to be with the Egg-tooth.
"Nobody in my district wants one of the governor's $400 rebate checks," state Rep. Nelson "Cheeks" Hardwick said while slipping on his Egg-tooth Stormtrooper costume. "I don't know what planet the governor's on, but you can bet the Tooth is going to blow it up when he finds it."
"Oh, we'll find the governor's planet once we get the new planetarium funded in the budget," said state Rep. Bill Cotty, another Egg-tooth Stormtrooper. "That'll be the best $5.3 million taxpayer dollars we ever spent."
Mayor of Importantville Bobby Harrell vigorously supported his Stormtroopers, adding he would use his influence as the state's most powerful legislator to assist Cooper & Company in growing government at four to five times the growth of taxpayers' income levels this year.
"Pork, I am your father," Harrell said between heavy, ominous breathing sounds coming from his Darth Vader costume.
Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer refused to reveal any Jedi mind-tricks or other Star Wars-themed responses being contemplated by the Governor's Office, choosing instead to veer away from the intergalactic analogy completely.
"We're going to take these bad eggs, crack 'em open and fix ourselves a Taxpayer Protection omelette," Sawyer said. "F--- Star Wars, this is the budget."