(WITHOUT RAISING TAXES) How do lawmakers propose to deal with the fact that South Carolina’s roads and bridges are in suboptimal shape? The governing assumption behind most answers to this question (including one Senate proposal supported by Senate Finance chairman Hugh Leatherman) seems to be that, in order to pay for road and bridge repair, [...]
MANY SOUTH CAROLINA POLITICIANS HAVE SPOKEN OUT STRONGLY AGAINST OBAMACARE. THEIR ACTIONS TELL A DIFFERENT STORY. In March, Governor Nikki Haley publicly stated that “as long as [she is] the governor of South Carolina, we will not expand Medicaid on President Obama’s watch.” Also in March, House Speaker Bobby Harrell lauded the House budget vote [...]
THE PROBLEM: The new federal health care takeover will add trillions to the nation’s debt, raise taxes by $669 billion, heap burdensome regulations on South Carolina businesses, and spark sharp increases in insurance rates for consumers.
YOU’RE A TAXPAYER? SORRY, YOU DIDN’T MAKE THE PRIORITY LIST This year, the General Assembly had more than $1 billion in new revenue to appropriate. The final version of the $23.5 billion spending plan, therefore, should be an excellent gauge of lawmakers’ priorities. Here’s what we know: Lawmakers created 250+ new full-time government employees; gave [...]
The South Carolina Department of Transportation has one of the largest budgets in state government, yet it can’t afford to maintain the state’s roads. Why? Because most of DoT’s money isn’t state money – it’s federal. The mission of the Department of Transportation is to maintain a public transportation system “that is consistent with the [...]
Part of the Obama administration’s stimulus bill established unemployment “incentive grants” to states who “modernize” (translation: expand) unemployment benefit eligibility. Any state whose law coheres with federal standards could receive the money. For South Carolina, the federal government offered $97 million dollars in federal funds if – and only if – state lawmakers changed state law to expand unemployment benefit eligibility.
The James E. Clyburn University Transportation Research and Conference Center at South Carolina State University is a $107 million dollar project. The complex was intended to serve as a transportation research center, a research facility for large trucks, the archive of James Clyburn’s papers, and a garage for Santee Wateree Regional Transportation Authority’s bus fleet. However, two reports, one by the Charleston Post and Courier and one by the Legislative Audit Council, reveal the incredible extent of the Clyburn Center’s failure. The project is sputtering along with no viable funding plan, delayed construction, and poor oversight. The story of the Clyburn Center is a melancholy illustration of the fact that federal money isn’t “free” money: indeed, in many cases it costs the state millions of wasted tax dollars.
Every year, South Carolina becomes more dependent on the federal government, and every year the state loses more control over its own affairs to Washington DC. The federal government has its hands in education, social services, economic development – and just plain waste. So who’s responsible? State lawmakers say they can’t do anything about it. But the South Carolina Code states that “no agency may receive or spend federal funds” that are “not included in the appropriation act.” In short: Just because the federal government offers money doesn’t mean state lawmakers have to take it.
The federal government is trying to run the U.S. economy – and South Carolina is helping out by taking federal grants for “economic development.” Why? Because it’s free money from the government! But is that always a good thing?
A vast number of new federal healthcare regulations are introduced in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), most of which will be enforced through state or federally run health exchanges. The harmless public face of these health exchanges is a web-based “marketplace,” in which the uninsured and small businesses can shop for health insurance plans selected for sale by the government. Behind agency doors, however, these exchanges will act as the primary regulator of the insurance industry within states, approving or rejecting health plans, overseeing new rate and coverage requirements, doling out health insurance subsidies, and enrolling consumers in whichever government program they are eligible for.