South Carolina’s legislative state is growing … literally. At a time when annual state government spending is poised to climb above the $31 billion mark (at least), state lawmakers are adding new staff – and paying these employees supersized salaries.
According to reporter Rick Brundrett of The (Columbia, S.C.) Nerve, a total of 205 staffers currently serve the 170-member S.C. General Assembly – 95 serving the 124 members of the S.C. House of Representatives and 114 serving the 46-member S.C. Senate.
Of those, forty are earning more than $100,000 annually (not counting benefits) – up from 27 at the same point in time a year ago. Meanwhile 153 of them are earning more than $50,000 annually (not counting benefits) – up from 143 a year ago.
Drawing the highest salaries? The clerks of the respective chambers – Charles Reid and Jeff Gossett, who are pulling down $212,250 and $210,136 per year, respectively (again, not counting benefits).
Both of these salaries clock in well above the average $182,760 per year received by chief executives in the private sector, according to Brundrett – who had to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain the information from the two legislative entities.
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(Via: Travis Bell Photography)
Wait a minute … aren’t all taxpayer-funded salaries supposed to be posted online?
Yes … but lawmakers have routinely exempted their branch of government from such disclosure (sort of like they have exempted themselves from having to comply with FOIA requests for their correspondence).
The rules they apply to others don’t apply to them, it would seem …
Brundrett also noted that “the chambers routinely have ignored a longstanding state law requiring all state agencies to annually file budget requests with the governor” no later than November 1 each year.
Again … one set of rules for them, another for the rest of state government.
Our view? Honestly it isn’t the money the legislature spends on itself that bothers us (passing laws is a core function of government, the last time we checked). Instead, it is the ever-escalating sums of money lawmakers continue to mindlessly pump into a maze of antiquated, duplicative, corrupt, non-essential and otherwise wasteful and inefficient government bureaucracies – agencies which continue to produce diminishing returns for citizens and taxpayers alike.
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VIA: GETTY IMAGES