LEATHERMAN STALLING TRANSPORTATION REFORM BILL TO SECURE MORE FAVORABLE CONDITIONS FOR TAX INCREASE
FITSNews – May 23, 2007 - S.C. Sen. Hugh Leatherman‘s burning desire to see South Carolina’s gas tax raised by ten cents a gallon is the latest roadblock to a Department of Transportation reform bill, sources tell FITSNews. At a time when retail gas prices are at an all-time high and South Carolina’s budget is flush with cash for the third year in a row, Leatherman is said to be hoping for a more favorable economic and budgetary environment in which to make his case for the tax increase, which he would then insist on as a tradeoff for passing the bill.
Our sources, who are intimately familiar with comments made by Leatherman behind closed doors at the conference committee negotiating this year’s state budget, said that the Senator specifically told them “there isn’t going to be a DOT reform bill this year” before outlining his tax hike proposal. Both the House and Senate have passed differing versions of DOT reform, but it hasn’t cleared conference committee yet, with many incorrectly assuming that the real threat to its ultimate passage involved a dispute over appointment power for the agency’s commissioners and executive director.
Given his recent history of shady deals, this kind of stunt should hardly come as a surprise from Leatherman – who lost his position as Senate Majority Leader several years ago because of his support for higher gas taxes. Of course, what would also hardly come as a surprise is if Leatherman has a miniature bust of Vladimir Lenin stowed away in a secret compartment somewhere in his State House desk that he takes out to lovingly pet, caress and whisper sweet socialist nothings into its ear when no one else is in the room.
UPDATE – A loyal reader just reminded us that a Vladimir Lenin miniature ceramic bust is actually several inches taller than Sen. Leatherman, meaning he would probably have to use a stool to whisper in its ear. We think it’s still a precious image, though. Especially if you like little communists.