Friday, March 24, 2006

Fab Flags For $6 Million? It's Your Money

Dear Hard-Working South Carolina Taxpayer,

Guess What. You're not getting any tax relief this year. No property tax relief, no income tax relief and you're sure as hell getting a $400 rebate back out of that $1 billion in new revenue you sent to Columbia.

Nope, the State Legislature is going to spend every last nickel of your money.

In fact, after passing a pork-laden budget that grows government four times faster than your paycheck - the South Carolina House of Representatives (a.k.a. "Mayor-ice's Piggie Park") is far from satisfied. In fact, they won't rest until they've identified every feelgood expenditure they can possibly find to justify denying you (and in turn, our state's economy) even a modest portion of the surplus we worked so hard to create.

The latest taxpayer-funded extravagance is the brainchild of prominent RINO (Republican in Name Only) Catherine Ceips, who last year spent $5 million of your tax dollars to dump sand into the Atlantic Ocean. Evidently unsatisfied with her "Dirt Jihad" against that irrepressible force of natural inevitability known as "Longshore Drift," Rep. Ceips is now waging a "Flag Jihad" against Lt. Col. Banastre "Bloody" Tarleton.

Here's the only problem - Tarleton, a brutal British dragoon commander during the Revolutionary War (not the Gulf War), shuffled off this mortal coil back in 1833. And unlike "Longshore Drift," which is scientifically unbeatable, Tarleton and his British buddies have in fact already been beaten twice by America (1781 and 1812).

Nonetheless, here we have Rep. Ceips sponsoring H. 4886, a resolution that passed the Piggie Park by a vote of 109-0. It instructs our State Budget & Control Board to "from its reserve funds ... immediately provide the State Museum with sufficient funding to buy or otherwise reclaim three battle flags of the American Revolutionary War captured by Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton during the Battle of the Waxhaws (also known as Buford's Massacre) in Lancaster County on May 29, 1780, and to request that the State Museum also seek private funding and donations to help secure these important artifacts."

So how much do these flags cost? According to Sotheby's, all three can likely be had for the bargain basement price of just $6 million - although Ceips says she thinks we can get them for only $3 million.

"All South Carolinians will appreciate these flags coming home," said Former Minority Leader James Smith of Columbia.

Um, James ... While we're sure the massive voting block of revolutionary war re-enactors, history professors, museum curators and other members of the "There But For The Grace Of God Go I" Club might agree with that statement, the rest of us would kindly appreciate it if you porkers quit coming up with new ways to unnecessarily spend millions of dollars that could be going into our pockets and growing the state's economy.

But Smith's comment didn't even come close to taking the cake, that honor was reserved for State Rep. Mike Pitts.

"Do we really want that flag in the hands of an enemy?" Pitts asked.

Whoa there, home slice.

Last time FITS checked Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair had been pretty good to the good ole U.S.A. (WWII, Desert Storm, etc.) Of course it figures a South Carolina State Legislator would completely scrap Anglo-American relations just because Tarleton's great-great-great-great nephew is a little hard up for some cash and as P.T. Barnum once said, "there's a sucker born every minute."

Look, we're sure these flags are historic and should be publicly displayed. That's fine with us, just let Darla Moore, Mack Whittle and John Rainey pay for them, not the unemployed textile worker in Greenville who can't find a new job because our State Legislature won't build a business climate that creates them.

Hell, if South Carolina's General Assembly ever took its head out of its arse (that's the British term) and worried about how we actually make this state more competitive as opposed to buying, moving, raising, lowering and generally wasting everybody's time talking about flags, we might end up moving our citizens into the current century instead of relegating them to previous ones.

It's up to you, taxpayer. And if you happen to live in District 124 in Beaufort County, you can start by showing Rep. Ceips that $5 million in vanishing sand, $6 million in Revolutionary War flags and her support of a budget that spends every last nickel of a billion dollar surplus you created isn't a performance that should be reprised come 2007.




Blogger S. Scott Craft said...

I'm twenty something could you teach me how to do it.

2:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh lordy lordy ... we got our first RINO hunt going.

7:07 PM

Anonymous Other said...

I am a big supporter of Mark Sanford, and will you are one of my most favorite people, but Will thats actually one of my problems with the governor and his people. I mean look at the US Capitol bldng...why did we spend so much money on it making it beautiful..why not just meet under a big oak tree somewhere? why do we pay for the guv to live at a private mansion, with a cook etc....the government shouldnt pay for anything nice, cause the money could be given back to the people. The simple answer is for posterity, and also because government has a certain social order. We expect, and want, our leaders to be proper and nice, and we want nice stuff for our state. those flags are part of history...they are a part of our history, and we should preserve them for posterity...not a blank check, but a reasonable cost. Dont say that we have such irresponsible legislators because they want to spend money to help preserve for posterity some of our history. You sir are a history genious, and you should know the importance...if we do not know history will, we are doomed to repeat it. I say pay whatever needed for the flags...and pay for mark to get some new stuff :) Hell, I think we should have a better Governor's mansion. Look at Arkansas' and Georgia's. South Carolina's is put to shame...all in all Will...lighten up.

11:25 PM

Blogger faithinsound said...

Dear Other-

You realize you said "Pay whatever needed for the flags" right after you said "not a blank check, but a reasonable cost" just two sentences earlier?

We've been "repeating history" in South Carolina for two Centuries - last in education, worst in government efficiency and accountability and always behind the 8 ball in economic development.

And legislators aren't just irresponsible for spending $6 million on flags, they're irresponsible for spending all $1 billion of the new revenue that's come into Columbia. Think what would happen if we put just half of that into growing our economy and not growing government.


12:45 PM

Anonymous Other said...

So what is your solution then Will? And please please don't take this as an argument against you or the guv, but everytime someone disagree's with you, or the administration on an issue, you automatically come out and make it seem like the person who disagrees is a "meany.

"We've been "repeating history" in South Carolina for two Centuries - last in education, worst in government efficiency and accountability and always behind the 8 ball in economic development."
If the guv was a true leader then he could get something done about this, rather than just arguing and saying "its all the legislature's fault"

About the flags, the reason that I said about that we should spend whatever neccesary, but not a blank check was said just as i meant it. We should spend a REASONABLE amount of money on the flags, but not just a blank check either.

All in all will, lighten up. I am not out to get you, but you are wrong on this one.

12:54 PM

Blogger faithinsound said...

Dear Other-

If you think Will Folks is awake at this hour on a Saturday, you are clearly much more delusional than we thought. You are talking to THE Laurie D., weekend editor and special RINO Caucus correspondent for FITS.

Look, we don't think you're a "meany." You make some good points. History is important and where practicable, it should be preserved. We're just saying put that $6 million into people's pockets where they can then pay a $2 ticket to go see it at a museum if they want. (FYI- The State Museum was $16 a visit the last time I went to see the Dinosaurs, a bit of a rip-off).

Rep. Ceips and the House are basically asking the taxpayers to pay for these flags so that they can become "public property," and then make them pay $16 each for them again if they ever want to go and see them. That doesn't make sense and, not to beat a dead Brit, it doesn't do anything to grow our state's economy.

Lastly - our governor has put forward dozens of meaningful reforms to "get something done" about our state being so pathetic all the time in so many important areas. Legislators have rejected every major reform he's introduced, and when your Executive Branch is the 47th weakest Constitutionally in the entire nation, there's not much you can do about it but bring pigs in the state house and stand in front of bank vaults.


-FITS (Laurie D.)

1:14 PM

Anonymous Other said...

Laurie D.
Nice response time. I still think this is Will Folks, and I think the whole "group of editors thing" is a bit weak on his(your part) but I digress.

I will agree with you on that last point. If you would have just said that in your post we would all be much happier.

However, the guv has proposed some effective measures as has President Bush, be neither of them are EFFECTIVE at having CONTACT with the LEGISLATORS about PASSING some of his PROPOSALS! If only the guv would start doing that, then the state would be better off. And from what I hear from legislators from around the state, he has a problem with EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION with the legislators. And of course the legislature does not want to give up its power...and it would be the same for Mark Sanford if our legislature was the 47th worst in the nation--Mark would not want to give up his power either. All in all, lets get through it, and I remain a strong Mark Sanford(and Will Folks) FRIEND and supporter.

1:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is on pacific time, so it was p.m. not a.m., other or wheover you are. dont be fooled WIll folks definitely is a drunk who has to sleep past noon every day but that is definitely him you are talking too.

hey will while you are at it whhy don't you explain about that time you let Cathrine Cieps have it in front of legislators at the back porch. REAL class act you are will.

6:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You wrote:

The latest taxpayer-funded extravagance is the brainchild of prominent RINO (Republican in Name Only) Catherine Ceips, who last year spent $5 million of your tax dollars to dump sand into the Atlantic Ocean. Evidently unsatisfied with her "Dirt Jihad" against that irrepressible force of natural inevitability known as "Longshore Drift,"

It seems Governor Sanford has suggested $5 million is his 06-07 executive budget for beach renourishment (dirt dumping) at Hunting Island. He must be joining Ceips on her "Dirt Jihad". What a minute, since Sanford is suggesting it, it must be ok.

6:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know I'm starting to think that Will and everyone else who attempts argument with Will realizes that this guy (Will) happens to know his s*&%t. I'm impressed.

2:03 AM

Blogger faithinsound said...

Dear Anonymous,

We were unaware that the governor's budget included any such wasteful beach renourishment allocation, but whether it did or not, we certainly knew it was not a perfect spending plan by any means.

We at FITS were particularly disappointed in the governor for backing down from his previous position on shuttering USC-Salkahatchie and USC-Union. Our state simply can't sustain 33 publicly-funded colleges and universitites (at 80 campus locations), and the governor for two years in a row made the politically-difficult call to start doing something to address that.

Yet still, there's a big difference between a $5.9 billion budget and a $6.5 billion budget, and we'll continue to go with the guy who isn't blowing the whole wad.


10:47 AM

Anonymous Daniel said...


Governor Sanford did not propose beach renourishment for Hunting Island Beach in the budget. He proposed $5 million dollars for renourishment to be spent by PRT on areas of the coast that are already developed and have infrastructure.

If you're going to try to be a smartass, at least get your facts right.

4:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

clearly will doesn't know his shit, this daniel kid does.

8:35 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm confused. We spend $200 million a week on an unnecessary war started by a REPUBLICAN President backed by a REPUBLICAN Congress. The President, to a great extent, owes his election to his victory in the REPUBLICAN primary held in SC in 2002.(Mark, to his credit supported McCain) We have no chance to win this war. I hear no outcry about it at all when we talk about fiscal responsibility. Yet we get ent all out of shape when Rep Ceips wants to spend $3 million to commemorate a war that we won and that actually meant something to the world and to future generations. I guess "in the land of the blind the one-eyed are indeed kings."

9:51 AM

Blogger faithinsound said...

Wow. This last post definitely gets the slippery slope award for the day. Holy logical extremism, Batman.

10:22 AM

Blogger Mike Reino said...

Except for the budgetary effects, the post on the war is iffy at best. Buying these flags should be done privately, not with public money. Some billionaire who needs a tax writeoff would be willing to do it. This is a pork project that WIS is just waiting to expose. The main problem is that there are too many of these every year. Outrage? You bet.

10:47 AM

Anonymous girlpower said...

It's great that the anonymous poster attempts to bring Bush and the Republican Congress into this argument. It would be fantastic if it were relevant, but I'd settle with him simply getting his facts straight. The Republican Primary that Bush won was in 2000 and not 2002. Big difference as there was no Presidential election in 2002...

8:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks "girlpower" for correcting my typo. Of course it was 2000 and not 2002. There were also two other errors that needed pointing out: Bent, not "ent', and it should be $200 million a DAY that we are spending in Iraq, not a week. Let's give credit where credit is due (that comes to approx. $ SIX BILLION a month) But hey, as the late Sen. Everett Dirksen (R. ILL)once put it, "A billion here and a billion there , and pretty soon you get into some serious money."

12:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Check the lines on the exec budget. On page B3-23. There is Hunting Island.

7:40 PM


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