Is there a shortage of solid, well-written investigative news in South Carolina? Sadly, yes. If you want to know what politicians are doing with your money, THE NERVE is your source.

Freest State in the Nation?

Ever wonder why free-market reforms are virtually impossible to pass in a state as “conservative” as South Carolina? There is a reason – and there is a way forward.


Making South Carolina the freest state in the nation won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen easily. It’s taking long hours, hard work, and help from our friends, too.

About Us

Who Are We?

The South Carolina Policy Council was founded in 1986 by the late Thomas Roe of Greenville as a traditional think tank. The organization’s purpose was – and still is – to publish research and analysis showing the relevance of the American republic’s founding principles: limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty and responsibility.

But while our principles haven’t changed – nor will they ever – the times have. The internet allows groups like ours to publish new analysis immediately, and social media enable us to reach a wide audience of citizens and public officials as events are happening. Gone are the days when a research organization could publish the occasional lengthy white paper full of dense analysis and remain effective. Read More


  • ROAD (2)

    UPDATE: House & Senate Road Proposals

    DEBATE LIMITED TO ONE GOAL: HOW TO SEND MORE MONEY TO A BROKEN SYSTEM Tuesday’s Senate Finance Committee featured a lot of grandstanding but little action. Senators agreed to strike the original text of Sen. Cleary’s roads bill (S.523), but they have yet to vote on replacing its language with host of tax and fee […]

  • BILL ANALYSIS: Regulating the Funeral Industry

      More often than not, state regulation – especially licensing laws – has little to do with protecting the public and everything to do with insulating currently entrenched businesses from competition. Consider S.160, legislation that would require the licensure of all third-party funeral service providers. Is anyone harmed by unlicensed funeral services? Almost certainly not, but […]

  • Reducing Obligations to Local Governments

    H.3374 would rename the Local Government Fund the “Local Government Revenue Sharing Fund” and would delete a requirement that the fund be appropriated an amount not less than 4.5 percent of General Fund revenues of the last completed fiscal year. The bill further states that the appropriation to the fund should be increased by two percent […]

  • Ethics Bills Perpetuate Self-Policing

    • A pair of omnibus ethics bills now in the General Assembly purport to end legislative “self-policing.” • They don’t. • Instead, both bills perpetuate a system in which lawmakers have special laws written only for themselves, and in which they “investigate” and “punish” each other. [download .pdf] The issue of the day is “independent […]

  • Ethics Reform in Reverse?

    MAJOR ETHICS BILLS ARE MOVING IN BOTH HOUSE AND SENATE. EACH HIDES PROVISIONS THAT WOULD LEGALIZE UNETHICAL CONDUCT ON THE PART OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS, AND PUNISH CITIZENS FOR CHALLENGING THEM. [download .pdf] Both S.1 and H.3722 (omnibus bills in the Senate and House, respectively) would seriously abridge the First Amendment rights of nonpolitical, nonpartisan groups that […]

  • On Roads, S.C. Doesn’t Have a Revenue Problem

    THE BAD NEWS? WE HAVE A STRUCTURAL PROBLEM Every South Carolinian who drives a car knows our state’s roads need work. Many have also heard about the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) alleged funding shortfall between now and 2040. What you may not know, however, is that both these problems can be traced to the same […]

  • On Roads, S.C. House Doing Its Own Thing

    THE HOUSE PLAN HAS THIS IN COMMON WITH THE GOVERNOR’S: IT ASSUMES WE HAVE A REVENUE PROBLEM. Nearly a week after the governor released her plan to fix South Carolina roads, the House Ad Hoc Infrastructure Committee, chaired by Rep. Gary Simrill (R-York), unveiled its own proposal. In some small ways the plan is superior to […]

  • Senate Ethics Bill Would Take Reform Backward

    MEET THIS YEAR’S GIANT ‘ETHICS BILL’ The legislative session has only just begun, but somehow lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee are already poised to pass an omnibus ethics reform bill. Subcommittees met in December and January – before the legislature was even in session – to assemble the bill, S.1. Now Sen. Larry Martin, the […]

  • Gov. Haley’s Budget: Same Deal, More Money

    THE GOVERNOR DOUBLES DOWN, PHONES IT IN Update* Budget documents prepared by the Executive Budget Office not available at the time of initial publication reveal an even larger executive budget. The full executive budget comes in at $26 billion, an $890 million increase in total appropriations over last year’s budget. Gov. Nikki Haley has released her […]

  • lobbyists

    Lawmakers File Scores of ‘Ethics’ Bills for 2015

    WHICH ONES DESERVE THE WORD ‘REFORM’? Two years ago, many, perhaps most, lawmakers dismissed the need for ethics reform. They know better now. As the 2015 session begins, already more than 30 ethics-related bills have been filed. Some would accomplish worthy goals, to be sure. Yet most contain troubling and dangerous provisions that would loosen rather […]