The mainstream press can't stay away from the story of the first woman governor of a deep-south state, born to immigrants. Nikki Haley is the lady of the hour, much as she was during the summer, when she won the primary and made the cover of Newsweek.
Needless to say, all this press-adulation undoubtedly translates into political capital:
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says she won a huge victory as the budget board unanimously accepted her choice to run the agency that oversees the state's finances and bureacracy.I'm sure it is.
The five-member Budget and Control Board on Thursday approved Eleanor Kitzman as executive director.
Unanimous votes are rare on the board led by the governor. For eight years, former Gov. Mark Sanford fought with the board's legislative leaders.
Haley says she hopes the vote is a sign of things to come.
It is notable that Haley is appointing a lot of women to state positions. Not my favorite women, but women nonetheless. (It's a mama grizzly thing, I wouldn't understand). From WIS-TV:
Haley nominated attorney and former prosecutor Lillian Koller to take over as head of South Carolina's Department of Social Services. "She brings a true amount of experience in a time where South Carolina needs it," said Governor Haley, "She brings a lot of reform and conservatism at a time where South Carolina wants it."Koller promises to cut more services.
Which services are those? I wasn't aware we had any social services left, but I'm sure they'll find something to take away from us.
And guess what? LET THE GAMES BEGIN! Lawsuits Follow New DSS Director Lillian Koller To SC:
In November of 2010, a lawsuit was filed claiming the state of Hawaii was falling behind on handing out food stamps to families in need. Federal guidelines require food stamp applications to be processed within 30 days.South Carolina gets Hawaii's cast-offs! Oh goodie.
Documents in the suit filed against the state of Hawaii and director Koller say that only 78 percent of applications were processed on time. During that same time, the departments staff was cut and the state lowered the eligibility requirements for food stamps, encouraging more to apply.
If the federal government finds that states don't distribute 80 percent of the benefits in a month there could be fines. So far, Hawaii hasn't been fined.
And today, Haley outlines cuts of just more than $110 million:
Gov. Nikki Haley will propose cutting payments to doctors and hospitals for treating poor patients in a state-run health care program; requiring the use of generic cancer, HIV/AIDS and mental health drugs; and eliminating state funding of South Carolina ETV and the state Arts Commission in her State of the State speech tonight, according to an Associated Press interview....
The largest savings would come from reducing what doctors and hospitals are paid to treat patients in Medicaid, the state-run health insurance program for the poor and disabled. For each percentage point reduction, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services, the state could save about $10 million. Lawmakers previously have barred the agency from cutting the rates that the state pays doctors and hospitals....
Allen Stalvey, vice president of advocacy and communications for the S.C. Hospital Association, said hospitals have been preparing for this news.
Hospitals are working on alternatives to a rate cut, Stalvey said, including increasing the $264 million in taxes that they pay to the state each year.Good thing I can get North Carolina public TV from here. Good thing I have medical insurance.
Still, Stalvey said, health care providers will be impacted.
“The small rural hospitals,” he said, “it could be disastrous for them.”
Ken May, executive director of the S.C. Arts Commission, said losing $2 million in state funding would shutter that commission's doors.
The commission, formed in 1967, supports South Carolina's arts community through arts education programs that bring authors, artists and dancers into schools, grants to individual artists, and operating money given to local arts organizations.
Much of the commission's state funding is matched by federal dollars.
"Cutting our funding means leaving federal dollars on the table and doing serious damage to the arts statewide," May said, adding a thriving arts community helps attract new industry and an educated workforce to the state.
"Everybody who talks about the world economy realizes that, if we are going to succeed, it must be through creativity and innovation. It's not going to be through blue-collar jobs or cheap labor. That's all gone overseas. If we're going to attract the people who work in those emerging industries, we have to offer a quality of life that attracts them," he said.
Eliminating the state portion of ETV’s budget would save $9.5 million.
Requiring poor patients on Medicaid and mental health patients to use generic cancer, HIV/AIDS and other drugs would save $991,000 a year, Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Jeff Stensland said.
And those are the only good things I can think of in response to this horrific bullshit right now.