COLUMN: Young outlines his plans for session

On Tuesday, the General Assembly will convene for the 2011 legislative session. I will attend representing House District 81 (large portions of Greater Aiken and most of Graniteville, Warrenville, and Vaucluse). The coming year will be one of the toughest budget years that we have faced as a state in at least a generation. Like you and me, the State will have to make sacrifices and cuts to address budgetary shortfalls. While many of us may be fearful and uncertain about the challenges in the year ahead, we must resolve to face and solve our problems now and not delay at the expense of our children’s future.

As to the upcoming legislative session, I am ready to get started. We have much to accomplish in the areas of strengthening our economy; improving education; controlling spending; reforming our tax structure; strengthening the state retirement system; fixing our road and bridge infrastructure; reinforcing transparency with roll call voting; and restructuring state government. The recent recession and budget cuts will make the task difficult but I am determined to make a difference for our district and our state. I look forward to working with Governor-elect Haley and our two newly elected State Representatives from Aiken County Bill Taylor and Bill Hixon.

In the new session, I am sponsoring or cosponsoring several bills that will address areas of concern to voters in our district. I am cosponsor of the roll call voting bill. Additionally, last month, I prefiled 18 bills as primary sponsor including bills that will do the following:

* Shorten the legislative session.

* Allow the appointment by the Governor of the State Treasurer; Secretary of State; Superintendent of Education; Comptroller General; Agricultural Commissioner; and Adjutant General.

* Require the Governor and Lt. Governor to run together as a ticket.

* Reduce the number of school districts statewide by setting a mandatory minimum number of students that a district must have to receive state funds.

* Reduce the high school drop out rate by requiring school attendance or early graduation as a condition to drive a motor vehicle before the age of 18.

* Impose mandatory jail time for criminal solicitation of a minor child.

* Create a state income tax deduction for a portion of long term care insurance premiums as an incentive to purchase long term care insurance.

* Require state agencies to report any “carry forward” “other funds” appropriations to the General Assembly by a certain date so that the amount of and purpose for “carry forward” funds are known to lawmakers and the public;

* Mandate zero base budgeting to be used in the state budget process.

Both to keep citizens informed and to get feedback from concerned residents, I prepare and send out a Weekly Legislative Update by email. During the past year in response to many of those updates, concerned citizens provided me good ideas and assisted me in developing issue positions. If you would like to receive that email, please let me know at

In the coming months, I plan to have town meetings in different parts of the district to stay in touch with you. We are working on dates and locations now. These will be announced in the paper as they come up and I encourage you to attend.

Thank you for the privilege and the opportunity to represent you. Together, we can get through these tough economic times and make our State Government more efficient; effective; and accountable.

Rep. Tom Young represents House District 81 in the South Carolina House of Representatives. He is an attorney and lives in Aiken.

Courtesy: Aiken Standard

Leave a Comment