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Nikki Haley Exploring PRT Privatization?

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Throughout her first term in office, S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley has traded in her Tea Party roots for the governing philosophy of a status quo “Republican.”

The result? Massive spending increases, corruption and crony capitalism run amok …

In fact through her first two years in office, Haley has approved all but $273 million of a whopping $45 billion in state spending. Talk about an underwhelming commitment to fiscal conservatism, right?

Anyway … Haley may be taking her first tentative steps in the direction of fiscal responsibility via a rumored proposal to privatize some aspects of the state’s totally superfluous Department of Parks Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT).

Reports of various privatization plans were floating around popular political message boards this week, and multiple sources at the agency have confirmed to FITS that “discussions” on the issue have taken place.

Haley’s administration refused to respond to our request for comment, but if it isn’t looking for privatization options at this agency – it should be. In fact Haley long ago should have proposed eliminating SCPRT completely – and earmarking its funding for taxpayer rebates.

SCPRT is slated to receive $79.2 million in the coming FY 2013-14 state budget – a 12.1 percent increase over its current funding level. That’s a lot of money for an agency which performs precisely ZERO core functions of government.

Seriously … South Carolina should not be in the parks business. Nor the recreation business. Nor the tourism business. In fact in each of the past two years, SCPRT director Duane Parrish – no stranger to wasting tax dollars – promised double digit growth in the state’s tourism industry and both times he missed the mark.

And Haley and her “Republican” allies are giving him more money this year … why?

South Carolina taxpayers cannot afford (and should not be expected to subsidize) superfluous government functions – at any level. Accordingly, we urge Haley to embrace the full privatization of this agency in her future executive budgets – while giving the millions of dollars that would be saved back to taxpayers.

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Pic: Travis Bell Photography