35 cents of Every Dollar? — Weekly Update from Rep. Tom Young – September 11, 2012 to September 17, 2012

The House of Representatives is out of session for the rest of the year.  I hope that you find this update helpful and informative:

State Government — Analysis
State Budget – 35 cents of Every Dollar?: In our state’s current fiscal year budget, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) receives $2.136 Billion and the Department of Social Services (DSS) receives $5.938 Billion.  That is nearly $8.1 Billion out of the total state budget from all funding sources (state and federal) of $23 Billion.  This means that approximately 35 cents of every dollar spent in state government goes to one of these two agencies. In one year, the budget for these two agencies increased by almost $200 Million combined dollars from the previous year.  Further, did you know that the above-referenced numbers include Medicaid and food stamps where our state is spending approximately $100 Million per week?  That is $5.2 Billion per year.  Compare these numbers to the following:  The state Department of Education (K-12) receives $3.67 Billion and the Department of Transportation (roads and bridges) receives $1.4 Billion.  To search for allocations by agency, go here.

Social Costs of High School Dropouts:  One reason – not the sole reason – that we are spending increasing amounts of money at DHHS and DSS is because of the social costs from many of our high school dropouts.   For this reason, I have supported legislation to incentivize young people to stay in school and finish high school.  Unfortunately, the “Drop Out of High School – No Drive Until Turn 18” bill died in the Senate in 2012.  In addition, this is why these email updates frequently emphasize the importance of reading skills in helping more young people finish high school and in ending generational poverty.  (To see the report as to why it is so important for our children to be able to read at grade level by the 3rd grade, go here)

Skin in the Game?:  After reading the above and seeing the numbers being spent, there should be no surprise that a growing number of people want to see more accountability in the social programs which our government is funding.  For that reason, I have supported legislation to increase accountability for people receiving government benefits. These bills include the following:

  • Fail Drug Test from Prospective Employer then No Unemployment Benefits – died in Senate in 2012;
  • Drug Testing Before Receiving Welfare Assistance – failed to pass either House or Senate in 2012.

As to drug testing before receiving welfare assistance, constitutional issues were raised regarding this legislation.  Nevertheless, at least 7 states passed similar legislation in the past 18 months.  To learn more as to what other states have done, go here.  I believe that there is a way both to increase accountability and to pass constitutional requirements.

Feedback on the Above:  In sum, the big picture is our spending on social programs is unsustainable.  In South Carolina, we spend more money each year on food stamps and Medicaid than we do on K-12 education and roads and bridges combined.  We have too many people in the wagon and not enough pulling.  The solution includes, but is not limited to, increasing the education level of our citizens and implementing accountability requirements as part of getting government assistance.  If you have thoughts, ideas, or questions related to the above, please let me know by responding to this email at tom@tomyoungforsenate.com.

Other Local News

Congratulations to USC Aiken!:  Last week, USCA learned that it is again number one among public regional colleges in the South as ranked by US News and World Report.  This is the 9th time and 5th year in a row for this accomplishment.  The news release can be seen here.

Special Recognitions Last Week:  Last week, I presented the family of Jones Bowen a certificate from the House of Representatives recognizing Mr. Bowen posthumously for his outstanding contributions to children’s safety in South Carolina.  Additionally, I presented Catharine Adams a certificate at Warrenville Elementary School.  Ms. Adams – “Grandma” as she is affectionately called by the students and staff – has worked for 54 consecutive years in the school cafeteria.

Planning for the 2013 Legislative Session:  The 2013 legislative session begins on the second Tuesday in January.  If elected to the State Senate, I appreciate input from constituents on the critical issues facing our state and area including tax reform; spending reform; K-12 education; the costs of higher education; health care; economic development; job growth; and the underfunded liabilities in our state’s retirement systems.  Your input is welcome on any issue important to you.  Please email me back or contact me by phone or in person.

Free Goals and Communications Seminar for High School and College Students:  This event, sponsored by the Aiken Jaycees, will be held Tuesday, September 25 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm at USC Aiken in Penland 106.  To learn more and to register, go here.

Upcoming Meetings
Silver Bluff Road Widening – DOT Meeting:  A public information meeting for the widening of Silver Bluff Road from Richardson’s Lake Road back toward the City of Aiken be held at the Town Creek Baptist Church tomorrow (September 18th) from 5 -7 pm.   The City and the DOT advise that this meeting is important as this project moves closer to the right of way phase.  DOT provided the following as information before the meeting:

Dates for End of Session Town Meetings: Currently, I have two town meetings set as follows:

  • Wednesday, October 3 at 6:00 pm at Odell Weeks Center in Aiken;
  • Tuesday, October 2 at 4:00 pm at Woodside Plantation Reserve Club House in Aiken.

Education – Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteer in Local Schools:  If you would like to help with educating our children, consider volunteering in our local schools.  Please click here for more information on volunteer opportunities in our public schools. Thank you to our local Aiken Downtown Rotary Club for putting together this list of opportunities.

Improving Reading Skills in Children:  In addition to serving as a volunteer in one of our local schools, you can also help with early literacy by volunteering with Children’s Place where you can spend time reading with a young child or helping an older child with reading. Children’s Place would also be grateful for donations of lightly used books to send into the homes of needy children.  Children’s Place will gladly help distribute those books to low income children throughout Aiken County by sharing them with all community agencies.  If you are interested in helping through Children’s Place, please contact Peggy Ford at 641-4145.

Senate Campaign Update
Senate Campaign:  Here is the latest on the Campaign for Senate District 24:

  • Bumper stickers for “Tom Young for Senate” are available.  They may be picked up at my office downtown at 409 Park Avenue SW; at the Tom Young Allstate agency on Whiskey Road next to Home Depot; or at Hixon Insurance in North Augusta.  If you prefer, I can send a sticker to you.  Just let me know.
  • The following communities in Aiken County are in Senate District 24: most of Aiken, North Augusta, Warrenville, Gloverville, Montmorenci, Couchton, New Ellenton, Jackson, Windsor, and Beech Island.
  • To learn more about my campaign for State Senate, go to www.tomyoungforsenate.com, email me at tom@tomyoungforsenate.com, or call me at 215-3631.

Constituent Information
Speaking with Groups Around the District: Several local groups have invited me to attend one of their meetings to provide a legislative update.  If you have a group that would like for me to come to a meeting, please let me know.

Report Waste, Fraud and Abuse in State Government:  To report waste, fraud and abuse in state government, you can call: 1-855-SC-FRAUD.

Facebook:  I have a Facebook page for Representative Tom Young. Please “like” the page to receive updates during the week from me on Facebook.

Tom Young’s Website: My website can be reached at www.tomyoungforsenate.com. There are links to a variety of constituent services; the status of sponsored bills; and roll call votes. Please add my web site as a bookmark on your computer.

State House Tours:  Tours are available for the S.C. State House by calling (803) 734-2430.  If you set a tour between January and June and it is on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, please let me know so I can do my best to see you.

Email Updates:  If you know of people in or around District 81 who do not receive my updates but they would like to get them, please email their names and email addresses to me.

Road Issues:  If you see a road problem, call the SCDOT at 641-7665 or Aiken County at 642-1532 to report the problem.  If you do not get a prompt response, please let me know at tom@tomyoungforsenate.com or call me. Generally, most paved roads in the County are maintained by SCDOT and are identified on the road sign poles by a small black and white sign listing the road number, such as S-2-1669. Most unpaved roads in the County are maintained by the County.

Thank you for the opportunity and the honor to represent you.  Please let me know if I can help you in any way or if you have questions about these or other issues. Your feedback is meaningful and appreciated.


Tom Young

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