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Columns

  • Column: Open government has come a long way in the last decade

    It was 10 years ago this month that I began developing plans for what would eventually become the state’s fiscal transparency website – one of the first such sites in the country. The goal was to provide citizens easy access to details about how state government spends their money.

  • Column: Feeling nibbled at checkout line? This may be the reason

    If you shop locally and wonder where the money goes, the Tax Foundation has an explanation. South Carolinians pay the 17th-highest sales taxes in the nation, according to a new midyear report from the nonpartisan think tank.
    The ranking, arrived at by combining state sales taxes and a population-weighted average of local sales taxes, is another rebuke to public officials who tout the Palmetto State as a low-tax environment.

  • Column: The holes in state’s shield law

    A judge is considering whether to hold S.C. political blogger Will Folks in contempt and possibly jail him for refusing to reveal a confidential source.
    The case points out an intentional gap that South Carolina left in its reporters’ shield law. In most other states, Folks would not be facing possible jail time.

  • Column: Court: Newberry County must pay $13K for open-meetings violation

    Anyone who has attended a meeting of a public body where the body has gone into executive session has probably been left in the dark about what was being discussed in the executive session.

  • Column: Bad stuff can happen if state twists policies to attract jobs

    As the S.C. Policy Council has been compiling this year’s “Best and Worst of the General Assembly,” I couldn’t help noticing a recurring theme: economic development-related bills.
    Some are overt, like one that would create two new grant programs and a grant fund to further integrate economic development into the state’s school system.
    Others are not, such as the bill that offers a tax credit for purchasing S.C. produce. The credit is capped, which means not everyone who applies will get it.

  • Column: Graham: Take Obamacare funding and give it to states as block grants

    After Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Monday night that he lacked the votes to proceed on the latest plan to replace Obamacare, Sen. Lindsey Graham urged him to consider an alternative that Graham released last week with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.). Here’s a statement Graham released about the Graham-Cassidy plan:

    It’s time for a new approach to repealing and replacing Obamacare. I have worked with Sen. Bill Cassidy, a medical doctor, on this latest proposal.

  • Column: The cutting edge of today’s education? Computer code

    All the way from the boardrooms of tech executives in Silicon Valley to the kindergarten class at Voyager Charter School in Charleston, the coding movement is sweeping the country.
    So, who is behind the coding movement?

  • Column: Should S.C. consider not repaving all rural roads?

    South Carolina, like every other state, is in the business of building roads. It’s a big business: Four of the top 10 vendors for the state last year were roads contractors, accounting for $175 million in spending alone.
    And that doesn’t reckon the opportunity cost – all of the things that don’t get funded because roads do. I may say conservation, you may say law enforcement, but either way, there’s a magnified cost.

  • Column: Graham: Vet’s killing demands policy shift on Palestinian aid

    Editor’s note:  Sen. Graham spoke Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It is considering the Taylor Force Act, a bill he introduced that would cut off U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority if it does not end its practice of paying monetary rewards to the families of terrorists who kill Americans and Israeli citizens. Taylor Force’s father, Stuart, of Kiawah Island, was at the hearing. Here are excerpts of Graham’s remarks.

  • Column: Democracy works only when we engage our brains and vote

    The Declaration of Independence wasn’t about revolution.
    Here’s what it says: “We hold these truths to be self-evident… that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men… that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government….”
    We generally think of this in terms of an uprising, and certainly it entailed that for the founding fathers — but for them, it was about preserving their rights.