Taxpayers who thought they were finally rid of one of the more fiscally reckless Republican leaders in the S.C. General Assembly should think again …
Former S.C. Rep. Chip Limehouse – whose personal life has been all over the news this year – has retained his seat on the powerful S.C. State Transportation Infrastructure Bank (STIB), a glorified slush fund that has contributed mightily to the ongoing mis-prioritization of highway resources in the Palmetto State.
Technically Limehouse lost his seat to new S.C. House majority leader Gary Simrill – but he was awarded another seat belonging to a politically-connected Greenville, S.C. developer whose term was expiring.
There are seven members on this powerful board, two of whom are appointed by the Speaker of the House (Jay Lucas) and two of whom are appointed by the president of the S.C. Senate (Hugh Leatherman).
Created in 1997, the STIB uses existing government revenue to finance the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of long-term bonds – which in turn fund large-scale highway and bridge projects. Unfortunately, most of these massive projects are approved on the basis of political considerations – not the prioritized infrastructure needs of South Carolina citizens and taxpayers.
Par for the course, right?
Anyway, the bank was the subject of a heated debate earlier this year when Leatherman attempted to route $200 million in new (and constitutionally dubious) borrowing into its coffers. That effort was successfully blocked by S.C. Senator Tom Davis – with a capable assist from former Senate majority leader Harvey Peeler.
Our position on the bank is simple: It should be abolished.
South Carolina already has a Department of Transportation – and with the right reforms this agency is more than capable of managing the state’s infrastructure obligations.
(Banner via Travis Bell Photography)