GOVERNOR FAILED TO REIMBURSE TAXPAYERS FOR POLITICAL TRAVEL
S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley has reimbursed taxpayers nearly $10,000 after using the state plane for political travel – violating a new budget requirement. Now the governor – who has had all sorts of travel-related problems since taking office – is pitching a hissy fit about the incident and threatening to get rid of the state plane altogether if she is not allowed to use it for bill signings and news conferences.
That’s fine by us … although Haley’s motives clearly have little to do with saving tax money and everything to do with her being a spoiled brat.
After promising to be transparent about her travel practices (in contrast to former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford), Haley has been anything but. She’s also been racking up plenty of frequent flier miles at the taxpayers’ expense.
Last year Haley’s administration spent at least $231,000 as the governor, her husband and several staff members attended the Paris Air Show. Among other taxpayer-funded expenses, Haley’s Paris jaunt included a $105,000 chalet, a $30,000 soiree as well as thousands of dollars to cover luxury amenities like five-star accommodations, gourmet meals at exclusive restaurants and “VIP” travel arrangements.
After the trip, Haley bashed a reporter at The Charleston Post and Courier for having the audacity to report on it. The governor later apologized for calling reporter Renee Dudley a “little girl,” and vowed in the future to do a better job keeping tabs “on who is going and how much they are spending.”
Has she done that? Not really … in fact two months ago Haley led a South Carolina delegation on a four-day trip to London for another air show. The cost of that trip? TBD. More recently Haley led an entourage on an “economic development” trip to Japan – the cost of which is also TBD.
In addition to these taxpayer-funded trips, the governor has received criticism for undervaluing private flights received from political donors.
Should South Carolina have a state plane? And for that matter should the University of South Carolina? Or Clemson?
In the grand scheme of a $23.3 billion (and climbing) state budget the costs associated with these planes are obviously drops in the bucket … but they represent perks that Haley (and others) have habitually abused.