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S.C. Rep. Bakari Sellers (D-Bamberg) is smart.

He understands “Republicans” in South Carolina are committed to growing government and raising taxes – which gives him plenty of room to maneuver as a minority member of a minority party representing a rural district in the middle of B.F.E.

For example while “Republican” legislative leaders have been pushing for a gas tax hike – Sellers swooped in last year with a modest proposal to reduce South Carolina’s fuel tax. Did it pass? Hell no, but Sellers positioned himself very well compared to the party of “lower taxes.”

This year Sellers is at it again … proposing a trio of bills aimed at (marginally) improving the state’s fiscal condition.

“I want to start this year off right,” Sellers said. “That means getting our fiscal house in order.”

Sellers’ legislation won’t exactly do that, but it would do the following …

1) prohibit the S.C. Budget and Control Board (SCBCB) from raiding the Insurance Reserve Fund (without authorization)

2) provide transparency in terms of requiring state agencies to disclose their deficits

3) authorize the use of select Capital Reserve Funds for a one-time “small business tax break”

Obviously the devil in any of these proposals is the details, and our guess is that Sellers trio of reforms won’t amount to anything resembling the long overdue fiscal reform our state so desperately needs.  Still, if his proposals are approved they would likely keep a few million dollars in the private sector which would otherwise be spent on government while better prioritizing money taken from various reserve accounts.  That may not be much in a $23 billion budget – but it’s more than “Republicans” are offering.

And that’s the point …

Sellers has recognized that South Carolina’s majority party isn’t going to do jack to lower taxes or prioritize spending … and that he can pick up political points by proposing such measures at the fringes of government.