2/26/2008South Carolina Boots Tax-Funded Transportation Lobbyists
Instead of raising taxes and tolls, South Carolina officials cut wasteful spending and eliminate tax-funded lobbyists.
South Carolina taxpayers will no longer fund transportation lobbyists in Washington, DC. Last Wednesday, state Transportation Secretary H.B. Limehouse Jr announced a plan to cut back on wasteful spending in his department with "elimination of Washington lobbyists" a top priority.
"I have worked with the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) Commission to make us more efficient in the way we do business, particularly in the area of getting the most for the taxpayer's dollars," Limehouse said in a statement.
Cutting out the lobbyists will save the agency more than $1 million over the next four years. SCDOT had previously retained the services of prominent former members from each major political party in convincing federal lawmakers to divert federal taxpayer money to South Carolina in the form of earmarks. This irked Governor Mark Sanford (R), who represented South Carolina's first congressional district from 1995 to 1999. While serving in Washington, Sanford was notorious for his opposition to excessive spending and pork barrel projects.
Sanford's pick for a transportation chief has been in office less than a year but already has delivered $18 million in one-time cuts to unnecessary travel, phone bills and contracts plus another $10 million in annual savings. Limehouse is putting the saved money toward the repair of existing infrastructure.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation SCDOT Commission voted to approve Limehouse's lobbyist elimination plan in July.