Mobile Barber Shops? Good Idea, But Never Mind.

WHY NOT JUST DEREGULATE? Ronald Reagan used to tell a joke that went like this: “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” Members of the South Carolina House have taken the […]

Category: Legislation, Regulation · Tags:

The State Budget: What You’re Spending in 2017

GOVERNMENT OUTPACING THE ECONOMY – BY A LOT The General Assembly just passed a $27.42 billion budget – by far the largest in state history and a $1.1 billion increase from last year. As in past years, lawmakers ignored state laws requiring a transparent and coherent budget process and instead cobbled together the state spending plan […]

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Why USC’s Budget Proviso Is Unconstitutional

SOUTH CAROLINA’S FLAGSHIP UNIVERSITY GOES AROUND THE LAW Recently the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education found itself the subject of debate in newspapers and on the Senate floor. A quick background: In many other states, some board or agency – usually a board of regents – has power to govern the state’s system of […]

Category: Budget, Education · Tags:

The Gas Tax Hike Passed. Now What?

IF YOU WANT TO HOLD TRANSPORTATION POLICYMAKERS ACCOUNTABLE, HERE’S HOW. After three years of effort, lawmakers raised the gas tax (and a host of related taxes and fees). In the process they slightly altered the structure of the Department of Transportation, but the changes don’t amount to the kind of restructuring that would ensure accountability: […]

Friday Folly: Internet Café or School Bus?

BECAUSE SCHOOL KIDS NEED TO LOOK AT SCREENS MORE? Perhaps there is some justification for legislation – S.33 – that would mandate the installation of wireless Internet access in all K-12 schools in South Carolina. Whether or not this is something that state government should mandate or pay for is, of course, an open question. […]

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Ending Legal Corruption – A Progress Report

WHERE DO WE STAND ON ETHICS REFORM? Since the Policy Council released its eight-point reform agenda in 2013, several lawmakers have been indicted and the General Assembly has passed a number of incremental reforms. Corruption flourishes in the combination of concentrated power and secrecy. In South Carolina, the bulk of state power is firmly in […]

Category: Reform, Reform & Restructuring · Tags:

Friday Follies: A Tax Exemption for … Huh?

A TAX BREAK FOR FOOD AND CLOTHING IN THE PREPARATION OF PERISHABLE FOOD. THAT MAKES PERFECT SENSE. It’s often the case, and South Carolina is no exception. Lawmakers tend to view the sales tax provisions in state law, not as a means of raising revenue to carry out the necessary functions of government, but rather […]

Category: Legislation Analysis, Tax Reform, Taxes · Tags:

More ‘Official’ Time-Wasters

WHY MUST THE STATE DECIDE THE RIGHT AND WRONG WAY TO DRAW A TREE? South Carolina faces many problems. The fact that graphic designs of palmetto trees aren’t standardized is not one of them. Nonetheless, H.4201 – co-sponsored by Reps. Martin, Pope, Delleney, and Huggins – addresses this non-problem. The bill would task the director of […]

Category: Friday Follies, Regulation · Tags:

Wrap-Up of the 2017 Legislative Session

WHAT PASSED, WHAT DIDN’T, WHAT’S STILL TO COME On May 11, the legislative session ended for this year. Lawmakers will return next week to finish and pass the budget and vote on gubernatorial vetoes, but legislators are otherwise finished. Below is an overview of the important bills from the 2017 session. Some passed, some didn’t, […]

Category: Legislation, Legislation Analysis · Tags:

Gas Tax Bill a Windfall for Infrastructure Bank

PROPONENTS CLAIM THE BILL WOULD FIX SOUTH CAROLINA’S ROADS. THAT’S NOT WHAT THE BILL SAYS. [NB: The bill discussed in this report is now law, the state senate having overridden the governor’s veto.] The legislature is poised raise the gas tax, along with sales tax on vehicles and several registration fees. Proponents claim the 72 […]