Gov. Sanford uses horse-drawn carriage to make point about streamlining gov't - - Columbia, South Carolina

Gov. Sanford uses horse-drawn carriage to make point about streamlining gov't

(Columbia-AP) March 2, 2005 - It didn't quite have the impact that carrying live pigs inside the State House had, as Governor Mark Sanford did last year, but he relied on yet another animal-themed visual to get a politically themed point across at the State House on Wednesday.

Using a horse-drawn carriage as a backdrop Sanford urged legislators to move South Carolina into the new century with a streamlined government. Sanford borrowed a line from former Governor Carol Campbell, who said South Carolina has a horse-and-buggy style of government; it gets the job done, but it's slow and inefficient.

Sanford's message is aimed more at legislators than the general public today. There's key legislation on both sides of the State House that would restructure the government. The House has already approved a bill to let voters decide if positions like adjutant general and superintendent of education, among others, should be appointed positions instead of elected.

Sanford is urging legislators to eliminate several constitutional offices and let the governor appoint those positions. He also wants to decrease by 60 percent the size of the state Budget and Control Board by absorbing those duties into a new Department of Administration, in the process making more state agencies accountable to the governor.

Sanford says no other state has an entity like the Budget and Control Board. The board is made up of the budget chairmen of the House and Senate, the treasurer, comptroller general and the governor. Together, they oversee much of the administration of state government.

Sanford says streamlining the administration will make the governor more accountable and let the governor take care of problems residents bring to his office, "If you look at our executive branch budget from our cabinet agencies, $60 million are of real savings have been offered in the budget.. But, if you go outside our cabinet agencies no savings have been offered by the budget. In laymen's terms, $60 million is great starting point."

Speaker David Wilkins responded with a statement Wednesday, "Restructuring was so important to the House that we passed a restructuring bill the first month of session. And just seven weeks into this new legislative session, the vast majority of the governor's legislative issues have already been passed by the South Carolina House. ... I urge the governor to roll up his sleeves and work diligently with the Senate to pass these important legislative initiatives already passed by the House."

If passed by the legislature and voters, these proposed constitutional changes wouldn't take affect until 2011. Democratic Senator John Land on Wednesday said the horse and buggy stunt is another gimmick Sanford relies on because, unlike Governor Campbell, Sanford doesn't have a cooperative relation ship with lawmakers, even in his own party.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill on Tuesday that tinkers with the state's administrative structure by renaming and moving agencies and programs around. Pickens Senator Larry Martin says the legislation gives Governor Sanford more control over administrative government functions.

The legislation turns the Department of Natural Resources into a Cabinet agency. It also creates a new Department of Behavioral Services from the Department of Mental Health, Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services and the Continuum of Care. The Department of Health and Human Services would become the Department of Health Finance and Oversight.

The restructuring bill now heads to the Senate floor.

reporting by Scott Hawkins

updated 5:03pm by BrettWitt

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