As the Senate Finance Chair, Senator Craig Blair has overseen some of the most contentious bills this session, and has by many accounts botched the job badly under increasing pressure from public employees to raise salaries and insurance funding in a state where pay and benefits rank among the lowest in the nation.
A few days after complaining loudly that he felt bullied by voters asking him to please act on a bill to raise salaries by 5% that passed the House 98-1, Blair and other Finance Committee Republicans showed a massive lack of responsibility by not even reading an amendment in Committee that they assumed would hack $13.6 Million or 1% out of that raise. Instead, they voted on and passed the amendment, only to find out that it had faulty numbers which instead mandated the original 5% raise.
Such a stunning lack of leadership and oversight was especially surprising for many as it came after Senator Blair spent weeks repeatedly touting himself and his committee as being concerned with fiscal responsibility. Blair also said “That’s our job. We’re the upper chamber. We’re the ones are the ones that are supposed to take the time to be deliberative,” just a single day before passing the botched amendment without looking at the numbers it contained.
This bungled rush to cut the salaries of educators and public employees drew sharp criticism from many, as did Senator Blair’s comments in a radio interview that if teachers could afford to feed hungry students through the strike then they didn’t need a raise.
This combination of gross incompetence and hostility toward his constituents has left many people wondering who Craig Blair is really serving in Charleston. We ran the numbers to show his top 5 traceable donors, so you can judge for yourself.