COMMUNITY UPDATE: August 2007

Here’s this month’s regular update to keep you informed of what’s going on in the State House and in our community. Feel free to forward to your friends and neighbors!

Remember, when you send me email, please place the word CONSTITUENT in the subject line so that I can reply to your email before the others I receive daily. Even when we’re out of session in Columbia, the email volume is tremendous.

Each month new addresses or added the distribution list. If you talk with someone and find out they are not receiving these or if you have friends and neighbors you think would appreciate staying informed, feel free to have them email me and ask to be included. I’ll add them before next month’s update!

STATE HOUSE

You may have noticed that the General Assembly will return this Friday to elect a new State Treasurer to complete the remaining balance of this unexpired term. You may have also noticed my name has been mentioned for this position in local and statewide media the last few weeks.

While I was certainly flattered and understood why I was approached, last week I announced I would not pursue the office. My statement read as follows:

“No longer a candidate for the office of State Treasurer, I will still continue to be a good steward of our taxpayer’s dollars as an active member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. It is my hope that the Treasurer we elect next week will share my fiscal conservative philosophy and vision towards government reform. The support from my House colleagues and Senators has been tremendous but my desire to serve the Irmo, Chapin, Dutch Fork community is where my heart and passion lie.”

It is my belief that the new Treasurer may be Converse Chellis, a C.P.A. and current House Member from the Lowcountry. If he is elected Friday, he will be present at the Community Cookout I am hosting August 14th at the Rusty Anchor (see COMMUNITY below for more details). I can introduce him to our area at that time.

YOUR MONEY

Hopefully you are aware that this weekend is a “Tax Free Holiday”. As we prepare to send our children off to schools, this is a good time to save some extra money. Not all items are exempt though, be sure to click here for more information: http://www.sctax.org/Tax+Information/Sales+and+Use+Tax/salesTaxHolidayInfo.htm

A few weeks ago, the Government Efficiency Accountability Review (GEAR) Report was released and, to no surprise, it appears there are several ways our state can save taxpayer dollars. I am still reviewing the rather lengthy report (you can read for yourself if you’d like by clicking http://www.statehousereport.com/pdfs/070713_gearreport.pdf) and I am unsure what changes we may be able to implement next year. As you know, change is slow among 170 elected officials but I do know everyday we get closer and closer to improving our state and I will continue to push as a public servant and not lifelong, entrenched politician.

COMMUNITY

I wanted to make you aware of a Community Cookout I am hosting on August 14th at The Rusty Anchor from 6:00 – 7:30 pm. When I ran for office in 2004, I stated that elected officials who stay in touch with their community are better able to listen, understand, and consider all points of view when representing their constituents. Too many times, you only see or hear from politicians at election time and I wanted all our local (and a few state) elected officials to come to a casual event at the lake so that you and your neighbors can talk and share your ideas in this setting. You may have seen an invite in your mailbox but if not, check the Irmo News this Friday and next for more details. Please RSVP to the telephone number or email on the invitation if you plan to attend. There will be no “political speeches” but instead a chance for people to talk openly and meet other neighbors.

Obviously I am very proud of our community and our many individuals who do so much everyday! Unfortunately I was on vacation and not able to join in the presentation of the state’s highest honor to one of our own two weeks ago. Sheriff Leon Lott is obviously a great member of our local community – and state – and was very deserving of this honor. I joined Senator Lourie in making the request for the honor and was glad to see Sheriff Lott recognized for his achievements and service to our state. Sheriff Lott is just one of the officials who plans to be there at the Cookout. http://www.rcsd.net/media/july07/7-18-orderofpalmetto.html

SCHOOLS

Last week, the Chairman of our School Board had the following letter appear in The State newspaper. I think everyone should take time to educate themselves on this important issue our community will consider in the coming months. http://www.thestate.com/editorial-columns/story/131198.html

Another article also appeared last week with more information. http://www.thestate.com/education/story/126917.html

You may certainly also visit the School District’s webpage for more information as well as informational meeting dates that have been and will continue to be held. http://www.lex5.k12.sc.us/

THANK YOU

I want to thank you for the honor you give me representing you in the South Carolina House of Representatives. Please contact my office, 734-2969, or email me at BallentineN@scstatehouse.net anytime I can be of service to you or your family.

During the summer and winter months, it may take a little extra time to have your email returned – but please know that I read everyone I receive!