Haley: Sheheen asleep at the switch when ESC was bankrupted
House Majority Leader says Haley found solutions for small business
COLUMBIA, S.C. – State Rep. Nikki Haley and House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham released the following statements after a press conference in Columbia at the Department of Employment and Workforce:
State Rep. Haley said, “After watching our unemployment trust fund go bankrupt, South Carolinians across the state were rightly asking, ‘Where was the red flag?’ The truth is it came in April of 2008, and when it was delivered to Senator Sheheen and his oversight committee, he did nothing about it. He has admitted he was asleep at the switch. His complete failure of oversight makes one thing very clear: we can’t trust Vince Sheheen with our tax dollars and we can’t trust him to take care of our businesses.”
House Majority Leader Bingham said, “When we were dealing with ESC, Nikki was at my side asking questions that mattered on benefit disbursement and accountability. She saw the urgency in the situation and worked with us to find a solution for small businesses.”
In April 2008, an Employment Security Commissioner told group of lawmakers, including Vince Sheheen, that the unemployment trust fund was going bankrupt.
“In April 2008, state Employment Security Commissioner “Billy” McLeod dropped a bombshell on a group of lawmakers screening candidates for ESC commissioner openings.
“The agency’s unemployment trust fund, McLeod said, which once held $800 million, would probably go “bankrupt” within 14-16 months and was currently paying out at least $90 million a year more than it was taking in.” (Greenville News, 1/27/2010)
Records show legislators were warned of “pending disaster at least two years before.”
“Almost two years later, lawmakers are vowing to fix the fund, which became insolvent at the end of 2008, and are expressing outrage at a highly critical audit of ESC. But records show legislators were warned of the pending disaster at least two years before now but took no steps to avoid it.” (Greenville News, 1/27/2010)
Vince Sheheen acknowleded problems were “well known.”
“Sen. Vincent Sheheen, a Camden Democrat running for governor who also sat on the screening committee, said he believes the trust fund’s problems then were well known by lawmakers.” (Greenville News, 1/27/2010)
Fellow Democrats have criticized Vince Sheheen for “complete absence of leadership” on the issue.
Dwight Drake, a Democratic candidate for governor, accused Sheheen of doing nothing about the information. “I think he demonstrated a complete absence of leadership,” Drake said. “He and the others were given a warning and did nothing. Minor adjustments could have saved this huge deficit.” (Greenville News, 1/27/2010)