The Republican Caucus will meet in Myrtle Beach on Saturday, August 16th for the annual caucus retreat. I was asked to submit in advance my ideas on what we should work on in the upcoming legislative session, and here is my response.
1. Roads - our roads are on everyone's minds. They were in my district, it came up a lot. I'd like to see us earmark 100% of the gas tax and related fees (a total of about $650 Million) to fund road and bridge repair, to allocate DOT funding out of the general fund, to abolish the SC Transportation Commission and move DOT under Executive control, and abolish the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank. As far as I'm concerned, raising taxes or fees of any kind are off the table until we do these things because I am not confident any new funds would not be wasted in the same way that the old ones have been. There also seems to be a general public expectation that the gas tax pays for roads, but that isn't really true right now. A big part of it funds DOT operations. My positions in greater detail are outlined here.
2. Taxi Regulations - Uber came to town, and instead of celebrating hundreds of new jobs being created in SC's 4 large cities, the Taxi associations want the police to run them out of town. I'd like to repeal the regulations that give the state so much control over this industry and make SC a friendly place for new and innovative business models. It is not government's job to protect established industry players from competition. When the law becomes a tool to these ends, it's time to change the law.
3. Legit ethics reform - we need to repeal any law that sets politicians or candidates apart from everyone else. Dipping into campaign funds for personal use should be considered embezzlement, for instance, and should be treated as such. The law should also be enforced by an independent party, not the House Ethics Committee. We also need to get out of the business of electing judges (allow the voters of SC to pick them instead), and eliminate the FOIA exemption for legislators.
There's plenty more I could list, but I get the fact that we can't do it all, so these are my top 3 for 2015.