Around forty years ago, the South Carolina General Assembly, controlled by big government Democrats, created an idea called “Home Rule.” The act they passed created county councils in all 46 counties in South Carolina and gave the control over local government affairs, including spending and taxes at the county level.
It was appealing then and appealing now. Indeed, even the State newspaper has recently opined about how great it is that Governor Haley and her supporters in the legislature worked together to make sure that some employee of a local government entity like a watershed commission could not run for that office. Such sounds good. But, actually, there are the basic costs of county government to consider and even more basic political concerns.
First, lets take a look at what has happened under so called “Home Rule.” While those of us who are conservative have always believed that states have rights and that states have the right to rule their own states with the least federal government interference, the fact stands that within a state, local rule is not always the most efficient. Indeed, since the so called “Home Rule” legislation nearly forty years ago, the taxes on the people and the spending of county governments has increased nearly 1000% in real dollars. Indeed, in South Carolina, no government entity has grown as much over the past forty years as much as county governments.
There is a reason for that. The folks elected to county level councils, God Bless them, are the B-team of politics. As such, they have to deal with things like “slush funds” in some counties for things like roads and recreation. Over the past forty years, the basic needs of political patronage have transcended party labels and has enabled county government cost and taxes to grow at an incredible rate. There is nothing to celebrate with the hard cold facts. People pay more for county government and more in county taxes than ever before and pay so much more under so called “Home Rule” then they ever did when legislative delegations controlled such things.
So does the state. The state has something called the “local government fund” that comes from sales taxes. That fund has continued to grow, even in bad economic times. It is a much bigger part of the state budget than anyone ever thought some forty or so years ago when “Home Rule” was voted on.
But, we do live in a world of political ignorance. While those of us who are constitutional conservatives believe that the federal government’s role should be limited, it can not be helped but to be noted that the role of county governments within our state has cost us more money than ever expected.
And, with Haley’s bill about the Aiken County Watershed Commission, it helps local politics. Make no mistake about it. Though various local officials elected might be the “B-team” of politics, those elected to the State House and State Senate worry about facing them. Slapping down employees of things like Water Commissions, and teachers from running for local school boards, or county employees from running for county council limits the average man or woman from seeking office. It leaves office to those who have means outside of working for a living. It leaves running for office to those who have money in their pocket already and who do not work for a living.
Add the increasing costs of so called “Home Rule” over the past forty years with that notion of working people not being able to seek office, and it is hard to see how such can be applauded as being for the people. Indeed, it seems Haley’s legislation championed by The State shuts working folks out of the political process and embraces the big government liberal ways of liberal government to make it costly to the taxpayer and limited to be run by those who can afford to not work to run for the jobs.
Think on it. So called “Home Rule” costs people more local property taxes than ever. Now, hard working employees of local government entities are barred for running for office. Please tell VUI how that is open, honest or conservative.