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RE: S.C. Accountability Litmus Test

Dear Editor,

For years in South Carolina, politicians have spoken about the troubles facing our state pension system. For years in South Carolina, politicians have made promises to reform the system. And for years in South Carolina, politicians have kicked the can down the road.

In 2011, after being sworn in as our State Treasurer, Curtis Loftis took on the task of being the only person directly elected by the people to serve on the South Carolina Retirement Systems Investment Commission. As the state’s taxpayer watchdog, Loftis thought he needed to dig into a problem that has plagued our state and finally get some answers.

Loftis and his staff dug into the weeds and shined a light on many of the issues facing our state’s investments. While for many politicians, the words “transparency” and “accountability” have become nothing more than buzz words, for Loftis – they became reality.

It seems many politicians in the statehouse would rather things not be shaken up – and that’s where the newest idea to send the commission back into the cloak of darkness came up. This Tuesday, the State Senate is scheduled to take up the Ryberg Amendment, which would eliminate Loftis from the State Investment Commission. The amendment comes from State Sen. Greg Ryberg (R-Aiken), who himself has run unsuccessfully for treasurer three times.

The State Employees’ Pension Fund is currently $25 billion – larger than the state budget. You see, when Loftis brought to light the fact that South Carolina pays $1.3 million each day to manage this fund, as opposed to the $200,000 national average, it ruffled some feathers.

South Carolina taxpayers foot the bill every time there is a shortfall to the employer’s contribution to the fund. Last year it was $90 million. As usual, politicians in Columbia would rather continue to make promises rather than solve the problem. This is at the heart of Ryberg’s attempt to remove Treasurer Loftis from the Investment Commission.

South Carolinians still have a chance to keep someone on the commission that is finally taking the lead in transparency for our
state. It is imperative that you call state senators and let them know that you appreciate a voice that is accountable to the voters – and is shining a light on what is going on with our state’s financial matters.

Many people in South Carolina have campaigned on promises of transparency and accountability – it’s time South Carolinians made
their voice heard and support somebody that walks the walk. Thank you Treasurer Curtis Loftis.

Preston Baines
Columbia, S.C.

(This is a letter to the editor from a FITS reader. It does not necessarily reflect the editorial position of FITSNews.com. To submit your letter for consideration – anonymously or otherwise – click here).

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