Friday, July 25, 2008

Local politics in SC are a dadgummed mess

About a year I ago, I wrote on this blog and in other places that local government was out of control. I wrote while state and federal governments were reducing taxes and spending, local governments grew at unprecedented rates. Regardless of how one feels about how local government spending and taxing should grow, there is one thing clear in the past few weeks: South Carolina’s local governments are in chaos.

Take for example the municipal governments of Beaufort and Union. Those municipal governments have been rocked in recent days by the resignation of their respective mayors involved in public scandals.

Add to that the rocking the county government in York County got when its Coroner submitted his resignation for alleged criminal activity. Local politics are just a mess in South Carolina.

Don’t fret, it gets better. Mayor Frank Willis of Florence is still challenging in the courts his one vote Democratic primary defeat to Stephen Wukela. Willis’s continued court challenge is complicated more by former Democratic Mayor Rocky Pearce attempting to get on the fall ballot as an independent candidate for mayor.

Resignations, long winded court battles, fighting to be at the top of the inefficient local spending pool seems to define local South Carolina politics now. While so many pundits in South Carolina worry about Governor Sanford’s agenda and tax credits aka school choice, I wonder who is actually paying attention to the how the local governments, in their chaos, are taking dollar after dollar from us?

The growing chaos and expanding local governments are something conservatives must face. For what good do we really do if we create state tax relief, yet turn a blind eye to the seeming forever increasing taxes of local governments? Is this what conservatism has developed into?

Is conservatism now a movement that stops at the state house door and allows local and county governments to do what they will? Is conservatism now a movement that does not mind big government as long as those who give to that big government give to Republicans?

We Republicans are in one helluva mess. It is a mess of our own choosing. If we had the courage and the discipline to vote for local and county officials the way in which we do federal officials, the entire point of this post would be moot.

Instead, we that call ourselves conservatives continue to elect people to positions in government closest to us that do not really embrace the principles of conservative government. As a result, we have to live with local governments in chaos. We have to live with higher taxes, court costs, and the like.

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