Published Wednesday, June 06, 2012 8:15 AM
Summerville Journal Scene ®
I felt compelled to comment on Sean Bennett’s most recent flyer received this past Saturday. For those who took the time to read this flyer which addressed such critically important issues facing Dorchester County such as the State Retirement Pension System and how much money Dorchester County provides Senator Rose for his district office expenses, I could only wonder where Mr. Bennett was going with all of this. His main focus has been economic development for the County. In his flyer, Bennett was very critical of Senator Rose for getting about $12K a year from the County to help cover expenses for his district office. To set the record straight, State law requires all 46 Counties to either provide office space and staffing for their legislative delegations or provide legislators a monthly payment in lieu of office/staff which is based on a formulated equation. Dorchester County, like Berkley County, has opted to make a payment in lieu of office/staff to our delegation members. This is more cost effective for Dorchester County than financing an office space and staff, like Charleston County does for over $200K per year. Mr. Bennett obviously did not know this or failed to disclose this fact in his flyer because he made it seem Senator Rose was getting a “special perk” that no one else gets. Our former Senators and House Members got this same “perk” when in office and current members of our Legislative Delegation (Horne, Murphy and Knight) get this same “perk”, rather payment, in lieu of office/staff the same as Senator Rose does. All provided by the tax payers of Dorchester County. Should Bennett’s criticism of this mandated payment plan apply to all members of the Legislative Delegation or just Senator Rose, as his flyer addresses? Bennett failed to fully qualify this as he was reaching to make whatever point it was he was trying to make.
Bennett further states as fact in his flyer that Senator Rose takes part in some sort of “special state pension” that “no one else can have”. Bennett calls it a “sweet deal”. Senator Rose did not design or take part in the creation of the State Retirement Pension System. Every legislator in Columbia, including members of our local Legislative Delegation, participates in the same system and the rules apply equally to all. I guess this was something, again, that Bennett did not know or failed to mention as he was reaching for some sort of traction. Is Bennett criticizing all the members of our Legislative Delegation for participating in the Retirement System or just Senator Rose? Bennett further states that this “special State pension” is costing the taxpayers $250 million each year. Where does he get this number and for what reason? If all of our 170 State legislators were able to retire tomorrow and collect, say, $30K a year in pension, that would only amount to just a bit over $5 million a year. Where does the $250 million figure come from? What point is Bennett trying to make? Did you know Senator Rose does NOT receive a Senate salary. He does receive a pension which he began receiving before his re-election in 2008.
I would want to believe that every voter should expect a candidate to provide accurate information in an un-distorted manner so the right decision can be made when deciding on how to cast their vote. If a voter has concerns about a statement made or information provided by a candidate, they should take the initiative to contact the candidate or do their own homework to get the facts straight. My support is going to Senator Rose who does get his facts straight!