Haley announces fiscal crisis task force

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- With South Carolina facing tough financial decisions, Governor-elect Nikki Haley announced a new transition fiscal crisis task force.

The group, consisting of five leaders with budgetary experience, was picked to help Haley prioritize the state's financial problems and develop solutions before she takes office in January.

The team was announced Monday at a press conference.

We are about to enter a budget year as tough as any we TMve ever faced, said Gov.-elect Haley. But as my parents always taught us, it is during the toughest times that you make the best decisions. State government is going to be hit hard this coming year, but within these serious challenges lies a tremendous opportunity for South Carolina government to get smaller, to get smarter, and to better serve the citizens of our state. Fiscal Crisis Task Force Chairman George Schroeder has a stellar career of identifying waste in state government, and under his leadership, this task force will help make sure we are prepared to make the tough, but right, necessary, decisions on day one of our Administration.

A new website created for citizens to report wasteful government spending will accompany the task force. Click here to visit the site.

A former House budget committee chairman and the retired head of a state auditing agency is included in the group.

Task Force Members:

George Schroeder, Chairman. George Schroeder was Director of the South Carolina General Assembly's Legislative Audit Council for 33 years before his retirement in February 2009. Prior to his service with the LAC, he was Director of the Joint Program Review and Investigations Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly, Legislative Assistant to the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives and served as an Intelligence Officer with the United States Army. Mr. Schroeder recently was the recipient of the National Legislative Program Evaluation Society's 2010 Outstanding Life Achievement Award presented at the National Conference of State Legislature's Annual Meeting.

State Rep. Nathan Ballentine. State Rep. Nathan Ballentine was elected to the State House of Representatives in 2004 where he has served on the House Education Funding Act Study Committee. A 1998 graduate of South Carolina Bankers School, State Rep. Ballentine works at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage (Wachovia) and studied finance and insurance/economic securities at the University of South Carolina. He has served on the Finance Committee at Riverland Hills Baptist Church and as Treasurer of Leadership Columbia Alumni Association.

Congressman Henry Brown. Congressman Henry Brown was elected to the United States House of Representatives on November 7, 2000. In 1985, he was elected to the State House of Representatives and served continuously through 2000. He was appointed to the House Ways and Means Committee in 1989, and in November 1994, he became the first Republican ever elected to serve as chairman of Ways and Means. During his tenure on Ways and Means, Congressman Brown was also elected chairman of the Joint Tax Study Commission and served as a member of the Budget and Control Board, the Legislative Audit Council, and the Joint Bond Review Committee.

State Sen. Tom Davis. A graduate of Furman University and University of Maryland School of Law, State Sen. Tom Davis is former chief of staff to Gov. Mark Sanford and a former member of the South Carolina State Ports Authority board. State Sen. Davis has also served on the Beaufort County Planning Board, the Lowcountry Council of Governments, the Historic Beaufort Foundation and the Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority.

Ashley Landess. Born in Spartanburg, Ashley Landess is President of the South Carolina Policy Council. Her 23 career in communications includes public policy work as well as consulting for private businesses and charitable organizations. Landess has been President of the South Carolina Policy Council since January 2008. Prior to assuming this position she previously served as its vice president for public affairs from 1998 to 2008. Landess served on the South Carolina Lottery Commission and the Governor TMs Health Care Task Force.