Davis ponders bid for Governor

Davis ponders bid for Governor
August 12 17:14 2017 Print This Article

State Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) told an audience at the Lowcountrty Conservative Breakfast that he is considering a run for Governor in 2018. His platform is based on reforming our legislature-dominated government structure, which puts most of the power in the hands of a few elected officials. Davis said, “We need checks and balances in our government.” South Carolina’s General Assembly picks judges and appoints commissioners who carry out functions placed under the control of the Governor in most states. The structure doesn’t put the Governor on equal footing with the legislature.

Davis cited the 2007 Base Load Review Act, which enabled for-profit South Carolina Electric and Gas Company to bill customers for the construction of two nuclear reaction with no financial risk to shareholders. The project failed, and customers could still wind up paying off $2.2 Billion in remaining debt. Davis cited the failure of the regulatory agencies – the Public Service Commission, the Public Utility Review Committee and the Office of Regulatory Staffing to oversee the project. The agencies are all legislatively appointed.

A longtime opponent of increasing the state’s motor fuels tax, Davis noted that from the time he took office in 2009 to 2017, state road spending increased from $1.1 Billion to $2.3 Billion. He asked, “What has improved?” He cited the lack of emphasis on maintenance as a major problem in the state highway system. The General Assembly voted to increase the fuels tax two cents per gallon each year for the next six years. The first increase took effect July 1.

Another issue Davis fought against in 2017 was the attempt to shore up the under-funded state employee pension system. State and local governments and school districts will pay an increased share of employee salaries into the system. The state committed $800 Million to the pension system for the current fiscal year. Davis would like to see future employees going to a matching 401k retirement system used by most of the private sector corporations.

The Republican field for Governor includes incumbent Henry McMaster, who succeeded Nikki Haley when she became U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in January, Lt. Governor Kevin Bryant, former Lt. Governor Yancey McGill and Charleston attorney Catherine Templeton. No Democrats have declared for the 2018 race so far.