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FITSNews – June 25, 2007 – We’ve never been members of the S.C. Club for Growth, but then again we don’t own any Izod shirts, “Members Only” jackets or parachute pants, either. We actually tried to crash a Club meeting once wearing a Michael Jackson “Beat It” Jacket, but unfortunately we left our white-sequined glove at home. Denied!

As much as we like to make fun of the Club from time to time, though, they are indeed fighting the good fight in South Carolina on behalf of the taxpayers. In fact, their recently-released “Dirty Baker’s Dozen Lard List” is a nice way of calling attention to the porcine stampede of excessive spending that’s going on right now in South Carolina government.

With legislators in Columbia growing government by 16% this year – on top of a 25% increase during the previous two years – we figured there was plenty of pork to go ’round in the current budget. What we didn’t know was that some of that pork was actually snout-marked specifically for … you guessed it, pigs.

Up in Union County, for example, taxpayers are funding the “Piggie On The Rock” festival. Over in Fairfield County we’re paying for the “Pigs On The Ridge” festival. In Salley, S.C., taxpayers are supporting the “Chitlin’ Strut” and in Laurens, S.C., we’re bankrolling the annual “Squealing On The Square” festival. All four piggie projects were funded out of the so-called “competitive grants” program, a dirty little swine trough of pork we exposed earlier this year as nothing more than a taxpayer-funded legislative vote-buying operation.

Under the control of Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman and House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Cooper (two legislators who have about as much business being in the Republican Party as Frodo and Sam have playing power forward in the NBA), these grants shell out $46 million annually to so-called “economic development” projects throughout the state.

Leatherman was accused by a colleague earlier this year of using these grants as leverage to get his way on Senate floor votes, and judging by the $9 million in pork the Florence Senator received in this year’s budget his plan worked like a charm.

However these projects ended up getting funded, though, they stink to high heaven.

Drunk rednecks dancing around celebrating pigs isn’t going to create one new job for this state – in Union, Fairfield, Salley, Laurens or anywhere else, for that matter.

What would create jobs is putting that money into targeted tax relief tied to economic development.

Of course until our leaders realize the path to prosperity isn’t paved with state-sponsored pig sh*t, South Carolina will continue to lag behind the rest of the nation in jobs, income levels and capital investment.

Here, piggy-pig-pig-piggy-pig-pig