COMMUNITY UPDATE: January 2013

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STATE HOUSE
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Tuesday (January 8th) at noon the 120th SC General Assembly convenes in Columbia.

I’m honored to begin my 5th term as your Representative from the Chapin, Dutch Fork, Irmo communities and will continue to provide regular updates for you here at NathansNews.

The first few weeks rarely see much floor debate as most the work begins (or continues) at the committee level. For a recap of the 2013 SC House Committee assignments, please read my earlier post.

I believe we’ll see Republicans /Democrats and House/Senate work together on several issues this year (Ethics, Cybersecurity, Election Reform); however, expect much debate on the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) and its impact on our state/country. As always, there will be much debate on Government restructuring and spending; but I believe many items will not see heated debate like those others I mentioned above.

As far as funding priorities, I’ve pre-filed legislation this year that simply would say “any estimated revenue increase once the House passes our budget – should go to roads”. To me this is one way we should be able to agree to help increase revenue for our roads WITHOUT raising taxes. It simply sends the House Budget to the Senate for them to debate and modify; but they do so without the extra revenue projections that the House did not have when we debated our budget. I would appreciate your thoughts on this if you have time.

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YOUR MONEY
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I continue to serve on the House GOP Tax Study Reform committee where we have been reviewing tax code and the billions of sales tax exemptions on the books for over a year. This is important because the SC Supreme Court may soon share their decision relating to sales tax exemptions and school funding and the General Assembly may need to act swiftly in dealing with this ruling.

In addition to the SC Supreme Court’s potential ruling that can greatly affect your pocketbook, you’ve seen Washington’s impact recently. It may be more (on our state and country) pending the impact or implementation of the Affordable Care Act. As mentioned above, this will be heated debate in both chambers later this year. Obviously, I’ll share more as information becomes available.

Closer to home, Richland County voters approved a “Penny Sales Tax” in one of the most controversial elections in modern SC history . I have learned the results will stand and, if so, am hopeful the revenue will be spent wisely and with the most beneficial impact possible to safety, commuting times, deferred maintenance, and economic growth possibilities.

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COMMUNITY
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Speaking of Richland County elections, many of you have contacted me and thanked me for taking an early position on this fiasco. Some of you recently emailed though and were not aware of my position or work behind the scenes. That reminds me to again encourage you to visit NathansNews often, where I’ve tried to keep everyone informed. Here are several posts relating to just this issue that I’ve posted since Election Day: 11/13: The long wait at Dutch Fork Middle , 11/15: State Law Enforcement should investigate Richland County Voting Fiasco , 11/16: What questions do you have regarding Richland County Election Mess? , 11/24: Richland County Election Analysis: Duncan Buell , 11/27: Ooops , 11/30: Restoring the Public’s Confidence , 12/3: Personnel Changes needed at Election Commission , 12/18: More on Richland County Election Mess . The result, thus far, is that the Election Commission Board (whom the Richland Delegation appoints) accepted the Executive Director’s resignation this week. I will continue to work with like-minded delegation members to assure quality, experienced and qualified commissioners are appointed to help run county elections. (Note: I did not vote to reappoint a current Board Member an also did not vote to seat the newest one. With all this controversy, I was not comfortable supporting the new member or reappointing the current one. In addition, as I’ve stated earlier on the site, I am also working on legislation to reduce our precinct sizes as well as provide much more accountability to the election process – locally and throughout the state.

Turning to organizational meetings in the area this month: the Ballentine-Dutch Fork Civic Association will hold its January meeting Monday night (January 7th) at 6:30pm at Ballentine Park. Our two Chambers of Commerce hold their monthly meetings soon: Irmo is Wednesday, January 9th (11:45am, St. Andrews Presbyterian) and Chapin is Tuesday, January 15th (7:30 am, The Heritage at Lowman Home) In other Chamber News: Irmo Chamber of Commerce : To see a list of upcoming events click here. . To see upcoming events for the Chapin Chamber of Commerce , click here .

Meet your neighbor : Please be sure to email me news of accomplishments of your friends and neighbors in the community! Previously I would regularly update the website with people I knew around town who were doing great things right here in Irmo, Chapin. I’m willing to help promote their work/cause and simply need you to let me know what’s going on!

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OUR SCHOOLS
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I want to remind all teachers and parents to let me know when your child/class is coming to the State House this year! I know Rep. Huggins and I will again be welcoming the Chapin High cheerleaders for winning ANOTHER State Championship but we also like to visit with all the 3rd graders and other groups that visit from now til June!

You can follow our Teacher of the Year, Ashley Metz (Ballentine Elementary), by reading her blog throughout the rest of the school year! Speaking of Ballentine Elementary, Governor Nikki Haley visited the students last week to share how “cool kids don’t bully”.

Belated congratulations to Robert Gantt, Beth Burn-Watson, and newcomer Jondy Loveless for their election to the Board. Be sure to contact your Board Members on any school-related issues you have. I know they’d love to hear from you!

Robert Gantt, our board chairman, was elected as vice president of the South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA) during the association’s annual business meeting Saturday, December 1. To learn more, click here .

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THANK YOU
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Thanks again for the privilege you give me to represent the Irmo/Chapin/Ballentine/Dutch Fork community! If you have events or people you’d like me to share with our community right here through Nathan’s News, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help!

I’m always eager to spend time with you at your Homeowners Association Meetings, Churches, and other civic events in the community! Let me know dates and times and I’ll work to be there!

Nathan Ballentine
803-734-2969
www.nathansnews.com
House of Representatives, District 71
Richland-Lexington Counties
320B Blatt Building
Columbia, SC 29201