South Carolina General Assembly
125th Session, 2023-2024
Journal of the Senate

                                                  NO. 44








FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 2023

Friday, March 24, 2023
(Local Session)

Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter

The Senate assembled at 11:00 A.M., the hour to which it stood adjourned, and was called to order by the ACTING PRESIDENT, Senator HARPOOTLIAN.


The following remarks by Senator MARTIN were ordered printed in the Journal of March 17, 2023:

Remarks by Senator MARTIN

Thank you, Mr. PRESIDENT. Members of the Senate I am here today not to begrudge anybody. First, I want to thank Mark Hendrix with the Department of Commerce who is always available to answer my questions. I may not always like the answer and he may not always like the question, but he does a great job and provides what I need. I also want to thank the Senate Finance staff who always answer my questions and provide the details I need.

However, I am here today to talk about the constituent input I have received. I heard it mentioned earlier from Senator KIMBRELL who filed a Bill dealing with ESG. Volkswagen is currently the poster child for ESG. They just paid thirty billion dollars to settle the diesel emission fraud scandal and they are now neck-deep in, "corporate responsibility". A member of VW sustainability council wrote last December that, "Embracing a fundamental shift to clean e-mobilities technology was the best option for both restoring the brand and complying with tightened emission regulations across the world. The best option going forward was for VW to change its position with regulators and NGOS, (non-governmental organizations) in all key markets and become an advocate for ambitious standards that reduce pollution and drive e-mobility, rather than fighting with policy makers and regulators. During the Trump administration, VW put its support behind California's ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) standards -- despite the legal threats made by the White House. Even more recently, VW took a firm stance against the legal challenges by conservative states in support of President Biden's greenhouse car policies." So, if anybody thinks or wonders will VW or Scout exert political influence in South Carolina, the answer is yes. They will exert political influence in South Carolina. They are already doing it.

My argument lies in these three things: let's talk about the money. Roughly three hundred fifty thousand dollars per job. That is too much, period. The current House budget appropriates $3,915,798,570 in general funds Section 1 for education. That equates to $76,630 for every teacher in South Carolina, Senator FANNING. That number is high, because your Governor likes to include other people when they make the ratios. It appropriates $86,608,761 to the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) or $138,796 per SLED employee. It appropriates $162,901,482 to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), $133,307 per DPS employee, and $546,314,013 to the Department of Corrections or $93,450 per employee. So, our law enforcement and correctional officers in this State are not even worth half as much, and our teacher's not worth one-fourth as much, Senator FANNING, as Volkswagen employees. Now, 1.3 billion dollars will not be spent on critical one-time needs at our existing agencies.

On January seventeenth, we were told that we would have $1,944,305,019 in non-recurring surplus. Now under this, Volkswagen gets $1.3 billion dollars, or sixty-eight percent of that. So, for those of you watching at home or maybe listening in the audience, $1.3 billion dollars, that is $1,300 million dollars -- is what that number comes out to be. The Department of Corrections asked for one hundred forty-four million dollars. Now, the best they are going to get is forty-six million. The Department of Public Safety asked for thirteen million dollars for school resource officers' equipment, Senator SETZLER. Now, they are only going to get four million. Anybody remember the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) on the news and all their issues we were going to try to fix? DJJ requested $84.5 million in our one-time money. Now, they are only going to get twenty-seven million dollars. State Law Enforcement Division asked for nine million dollars. They are only going to get three million dollars. And this only reflects the finance budget subcommittee that I chair. I have no idea what our schools are losing. I don't know what our local governments are losing. I have no idea how it will affect the expansion of broadband for our rural areas, or the paving of our roads, or the funding of rural hospitals. Seventy thousand dollars is what it takes to run one mile of broadband in a rural area. How much of $1,300 million would I need just to get southern Spartanburg County and Union County broadband? They would probably like to have a little bit of that. I cannot fathom all this money going away when we have so many needs.

The third thing, and then I will take questions, the third thing is China. China dominates the position in downstream supply chains for all the metal that goes into the batteries. China only mines thirteen percent of the world's lithium, but it controls forty-four percent of the global lithium chemical production. One of my colleagues from Spartanburg currently sponsors a Bill to greatly limit South Carolina land ownership by Chinese firms, and he was recently quoted, "If a targeted tax incentive went before the Senate right now for a company coming from China, I don't think it would pass." Well, this company is not coming from China, but nearly all of its ability to do business is coming from China. Our Majority Leader currently sponsors a Bill that, "No corporation controlled by a foreign adversary may acquire any interest in real property within the limits of this State." I understand what this Bill does and defines as "control," but I think we agree that China is going to have a lot of control here. The Financial Times of London recently reports that, "VW relies on the country for at least half of its annual net profits. The precise number is not disclosed. A VW car, or one made by its subsidiaries, is sold in China every 9.5 seconds in 2021. Over the years, VW has come to be 'viewed as the synonym for German business community' in that country." The Financial Times also noted last December, "Lithuania angered Beijing by recognizing a de facto Taiwanese Consulate. Then, German auto suppliers, Continental and Hella, suddenly found products made at their Lithuanian sites were being held up at Chinese ports." China controls VW and it will end up controlling this plant. That is what I am concerned about. I am concerned about the money that is not going to our agencies. Some people will say, well, it is going to bring "x" number of billion dollars if all these jobs come, and that may be true, and I hope it is true. The problem is, regardless of whether this comes or another one comes, and I wish it to be successful if it does come, but our agencies, our corrections, and our law enforcement desperately need this money. I do not want to see it given away because it is currently in our bank account when we can be using it for them. I will yield for questions now, Mr. PRESIDENT.



On motion of Senator ALEXANDER, with unanimous consent, the Senate stood adjourned out of respect to the memory of Ms. Bonnie L. Moses of Seneca, South Carolina. Bonnie lived a meaningful 100 years! Bonnie served on the Board of Registration as chairwoman and retired as a bailiff from the Oconee County Courthouse in 2008. She was a faithful member of Ebenezer Baptist Church where she was a blessing to those who knew her. Bonnie was a beloved member of her community and will be dearly missed.


At 11:06 A.M., on motion of Senator JACKSON, the Senate adjourned to meet next Tuesday, March 28, 2023, at 12:00 P.M.

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