Education is the top issue in South Carolina, accounting for one-half the state budget. The future of our state hinges on our ability to educate our children and prepare our young adults for an ever-changing, competitive workforce.
We have an antiquated formula for funding K-12 education that short-changes growing districts like Aiken and Lexington while not allowing rural districts like Edgefield, McCormick, and Saluda to access the technology and hire the teachers that are necessary for a 21st century education. Education is expensive, but money is not the answer to every problem. No child should be stuck in a failing school. Good teachers should be allowed to teach without excessive and unnecessary paperwork. Administrators should have the power and responsibility to get bad teachers out of the classroom. Teachers and administrators should have the authority to maintain discipline. And school districts should be required to spend more of their money in the classroom and less at the district office.
Shane supports Governor Nikki Haley’s education reform initiatives to ensure students are reading on grade level by 3rd grade, beef up technology in rural districts, recruit good teachers to work in underperforming districts, and have the state Superintendent of Education appointed by the governor.
While we certainly have our challenges, South Carolina has some terrific teachers and exceptionally bright students. We should recognize and celebrate those successes.
Spending & budgeting
Shane believes in small, limited government; people should be allowed to live without the burdens of an excessive and overreaching state government.
Shane believes in responsible budgeting. South Carolina has a history of poor budgeting decisions. The General Assembly spends all the money and saves too little in good years, requiring deep and painful cuts in down years. The legislature should prioritize needs over wants and cut out earmarks for special pork projects. Shane has voted “no” on the budget 6 out of 8 years because he believed the General Assembly spent too much money or failed to prioritize spending in a responsible manner.
When several state agencies ran deficits in 2010 and 2011, Shane was one of just a few senators to call out the agencies and the legislature for letting it happen. Shane was the only legislator to speak out publicly against South Carolina State University running deficits. Shane’s leadership resulted in a new law that prohibits state agencies from running deficits and requires the General Assembly to provide oversight of all agencies.
Shane believes the state should pursue policies that create a favorable, friendly economic environment that will allow business and industry to grow and thrive. If we have a strong business environment, South Carolinians will have ample opportunities for good, high-paying jobs.
South Carolina has been home to a manufacturing resurgence in the last 5 years. We build more tires than any other state, primarily because of the Bridgestone and Michelin plants located in Graniteville and Lexington. We have become an aerospace hub with Boeing and Lockheed Martin. We have a rapidly growing automotive industry with BMW, Volvo, and Daimler Chrysler.
Our construction and real estate sectors have come back strong, and tourism is robust. Yet farming and agriculture –a big part of our district – have suffered major natural disasters recently with freezing, drought, and flooding. State policy must encourage and allow all sectors to thrive so we can have a diverse and robust economy.
Shane has been the leading voice in the Senate for regulatory reform that allows business and individuals to prosper while still protecting the public. He chairs multiple subcommittees that oversee and review regulations.
Shane believes we need a stronger statewide focus on workforce development so South Carolinians can acquire the skills and training necessary to compete for 21st century jobs. Guidance counselors and high schools must do a better job of exposing students to the job opportunities that are available. The state should make better use of our technical college system and foster stronger relationships between business and the Department of Employment and Workforce.
Roads and bridges
South Carolina’s roads and bridges are crumbling. But the solution is not just more money. Shane opposed legislative leaders’ plans for a straight-up tax increase. Instead, he organized and led a small group of Republican senators to propose a conservative alternative. Shane believes the first step is to reform the SCDOT. The legislatively-controlled commission should be abolished, allowing the governor to be responsible for the agency. SCDOT must be more transparent with its spending by publishing a list of projects and costs so the public can see where and how tax dollars are being spent. SCDOT should undergo regular audits to expose and eliminate wasteful spending. SCDOT should not be in the business of building sidewalks, bike lanes, or roadside beautification projects.
The General Assembly must devise a stable and consistent funding source, dedicated only to roads and bridges, that allows SCDOT to repair aging infrastructure and expand interstate capacity. Shane does not support an increase in the gas tax for roads until SCDOT is reformed and any increase is offset with other tax relief for South Carolinians.
A republican government that “derives its just powers from the consent of the governed” requires the confidence and support of citizens. State law should provide clear lines of ethical conduct.
Shane has worked closely with Governor Nikki Haley to strengthen South Carolina’s ethics laws. State law should require elected officials to disclose who pays them so voters can judge potential conflicts of interest, and an independent body should be tasked with investigating ethics complaints against legislators.
Shane is a strong supporter of gun rights. He believes we should trust and reward law-abiding gun owners and be tough on criminals. Shane led the fight on the Senate floor to allow law-abiding Concealed Weapons Permit holders to carry their weapons in restaurants.
Shane has opposed the constant push by “Progressives” to restrict gun ownership. He is adamantly opposed to the use of Presidential Executive Orders to restrict guns (or anything else for that matter).
Shane has a strong pro-life record and believes life begins at conception.
Protecting private property rights
Private property is foundational in America. State law should protect private property and restrict undue encroachment by local and state government. Eminent domain should be limited to just the most essential public use projects.
In South Carolina, the General Assembly elects judges for the Family Courts, Circuit Courts, Court of Appeals, and Supreme Court. In order to fight the Progressive push that has led to many judges across the country legislating from the bench, Shane supports judges who understand the court’s role is to interpret the law rather than make the law.