Vida Miller's misplaced spending priorities

From the September 8, 2010 edition of the Georgetown Times:

Our State Representative, Democrat Vida Miller’s recent opinion piece lamenting the lack of money being spent on public schools was very misleading.

Ms. Miller focused on only a small portion of state funding and did not include local and federal funds, which amount to about 60 percent of the total funding for schools.

I know that facts scare Democrats, but let’s take a look.

For FY 2011, per pupil spending statewide for education, including all sources (state, local, and federal) is $11,372. The FY 2010 level was $11,241.

For FY 2011, if bond revenues are also included, per pupil spending increases to $12,472.

My figures show that since 2008 the per pupil spending for education statewide has increased 8 percent.

The problem that Ms. Miller does not want to address is that the education system is top heavy with administrators and bureaucrats, and rife with wasteful spending.

For every dollar spent on public education last year, only 44 cents was actually spent in the classroom for instruction. That is pretty sad!

In 2009, Ms. Miller actually voted against an amendment to a bill that would have required that at least 65 cents of every education dollar be spent specifically in the classroom to help teachers.

Throwing more money at education does not seem to be the answer to the academic performance problems.

The reallocation of more of the existing money to teachers in the classrooms would certainly help.

However, if Ms. Miller believes more money is needed for public education, and that’s a spending priority for her, then her voting record on state budget items does not reflect that.

These are a few examples of how she’s voted to spend our taxes: $1.25 million for a center to try and teach politicians how to be ethical, $1 million for a green bean museum in Florence, $850,000 for fishing tournament in Greenville, $250,000 for a hot air balloon festival in Anderson, $200,000 for a study to determine why people are fat, $150,000 for a pottery degree program, and a $10 million taxpayer loan to a golf tournament in Hilton Head, among others.

She even sponsored a bill that would divert our taxes to pay for her and her General Assembly colleague’s re-election campaign expenses.

Is the diversion of our tax dollars to all of these pork barrel earmarks a more important priority for Miller than more money for education? There doesn’t seem to be much doubt.

This year Ms. Miller even led the efforts from the House floor to keep lobbyists on school payrolls at the same time teachers were being taken off the payrolls.

It’s clear both Miller and the education bureaucracy have their spending priorities badly misplaced.

Old time politics at work! A real reason for a fresh face in November! My vote will be for Kevin Ryan.

Remember this when you go the polls in November. You may be voting for a neighbor but the neighbor isn’t voting for you!

Bill Hills
Murrells Inlet