Archive for April 2006

Sanford’s briar patch

April 30, 2006

All during the budget process, I along with conservatives have been screaming “stop this irresponsible spending”! Well, we fought the good fight, yet when the votes came, we failed. At the end, the big spenders win and the taxpayers lose. As I try to be optimistic in every bad situation, I have drawn one positive note in this losing song of wasteful spending and I hope you can follow my tune. Ponder this. Politically, this is a win for Gov. Sanford. He gets a big fat budget with more pork than Circle M BBQ. I’m predicting Mark throws out his rotator cuff scratching through the line-item-vetoes.
I’m not doubting Sanford’s sincerity nor his spending principles, but fans of big government are throwing him into the briar patch!
“Skin me Briar Fox,” says Briar Rabbit. “Snatch out my eyeballs, tear out my ears by the roots,” says he, “But please, Briar Fox, don’t fling me in that briar patch, “. (Song of the South)

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Gov coming to Anderson! Friday 3:45 pm

April 28, 2006

Today I’m back at my real job, Bryant Pharmacy & Supply. Gov. Sanford will drop by around 3:45 to talk to folks about my amendment to return the surplus money to the taxpayer. He may even want to talk to some of my customers. He may ask them “If you were over charged at this pharmacy, wouldn’t you expect Kevin to give your money back?” I’m sure the answer will be yes from every customer. Wednesday, I asked the same question to my colleagues in the Senate. Should the taxpayer get a refund since they have been over charged? Only 9 other members voted with me, so unfortunately, the Governor has only a few stops today. And the people’s government refuses to give them what is rightfully theres…their money!

By the way, it is wonderful to be back in Anderson. It is much more down to earth that Columbia where common sense is not very common.

bryant on politics rocks!

April 28, 2006

Michael Reese has added a feature to his blog “sports and politics” titled “politics rocks”. He was kind enough to feature an interview with me in his debut. The 5 minute interview is mainly about the capital punishment sentencing amendment that I offered to Jessica’s Law last month. Click here: http://michaelreese.blogspot.com/2006/04/audio-interview-politics-rocks-gets-5.html

$125 tax rebate tabled

April 26, 2006

I offered a motion to take the surplus money, pay off the trust funds, then return all of the money to the taxpayer. Unfortunately, only 10 members of the SC Senate voted against the tabling motion: Campsen, Courson, Cromer, Grooms, Hawkins, Knotts, Peeler, Ryberg, Verdin, & myself.

This amendment if passed would send $250 million back to the over charged taxpayer. Every taxpayer would get $125 back. That’s $250 per couple. That’s $5.4 million per senate district.

This budget grows government by 28% over the level of just three years ago. It is clear that government can never have enough money to spend, so all I’m saying is this year let’s give the extra money, just the extra money, back to the people who earn it. With this budget, we are telling taxpayers that if they send it, we will spend it.

Perhaps these taxpayers will have used their rebate to pay their property taxes, make an extra house payment, take a long weekend vacation, buy the car a new set of tires. I have asked many constituents this question: do you want me to spend your money in Columbia or return it. 100% of my constituents have told me the same thing. I want MY money back.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of mcolleagueses disagree.

Proviso could save medicaid millions! it was tabled

April 26, 2006

I introduced this proviso, yet it was tabled with only 8 members with me. -As a pharmacist, I witness wasted taxpayer money on prescription drugs on a daily basis. I would like to apply my 20 years of experience in pharmacy to offer solutions to the ever-climbing healthcare costs in the Palmetto State. Currently, Medicaid has a process called prior authorization or PA. This process is applied to some medications. In these situations, generic alternatives must be used first, and in the instance that the generic drug does not work; the more expensive medication may be dispensed. In no way is quality of care in jeopardy. If a consumer is paying cash for a product, naturally, they will try the least expensive option first. When the taxpayer is required to pay for medications covered by Medicaid, I believe we should take the same approach.

Prior Authorization is applied to many life threatening therapeutic classes with little or no problems, yet with exponential savings of the taxpayers’ money. We apply the PA’s to medications treating diabetes, blood pressure, esophageal reflux, and many, many more. Medicaid has 3 therapeutic classes that are exempt from prior authorization: HIV, Oncology (cancer), and mental health.My amendment removes these classes from exemption. I doubt if we’ll see much money saved on oncology or HIV drugs in the near future, yet I am confident that there is much room for savings in the mental health area. Also, we spent $600 million on mental health drugs in 2005 on Medicaid. Two drugs Risperdal & Zyprexa cost us $49 million.

For example, Zyprexa can cost up to $1200 per month. If Zyprexa was placed on PA, a generic alternative such as haloperidol may be used. Haloperidol costs less than a $100 per month. If the patient does not tolerate haloperidol, then Zyprexa may be dispensed. This process would not be applied to a patient on a maintenance regimen with stable results, only new diagnoses.

This proviso does not place any medication on Prior Authorization; it allows Medicaid more options. The Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee makes these determinations. Here’s a link to their website: http://www.dhhs.state.sc.us/dhhsnew/PATCouncil.asp

We don’t have an unlimited amount of funds for our Medicaid recipients and I am confident that this proviso will free up scarce Medicaid dollars for areas of need.

$1 for property tax relief tabled

April 25, 2006

Sen. Jake Knotts offered an amendment to provide $1 for property tax relief. What this amendment does is get it up for discussion should the budget get to conference committee. The House budget called for $116 million in property tax relief, yet the Senate budget calls for none. This amendment will get us some room for discussion in conference committee. The amendment was tabled. Now the conference committee can either put in $116 million or nothing.

property tax recorded votes

April 20, 2006

There has been much discussion from all parts of the state for a list of the votes taken this week on property taxes. The link below gets you to the journals of the Senate. The roll call votes on April 18 & 19 are tabling votes. “Aye” votes are actually against property tax relief and “nay” votes are in favor of property tax relief. I voted “nay” on every vote.
-Grooms I tabling motion was the 1st vote on April 18th
-House Plan tabling motion was the 2nd vote on April 18th
-House Plan tabling motion was the 1st vote on April 19th
-Grooms II tabling motion was the 2nd vote on April 19th
-Grooms II tabling motion was the 3rd vote on April 19th
-House Plan II tabling motion was the only vote on April 20th
http://www.scstatehouse.net/html-pages/sjournal.htm