Budget Process Remains Secretive

THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY TO ACHIEVE BUDGET TRANSPARENCY, AND THAT’S TO FOLLOW THE LAW  The budget debate this session was one of the most bizarre we’ve seen yet. It wasn’t that many years ago that the state’s Budget and Control Board was making across-the-board budget cuts owing to the recession and the state’s inability to meet its […]

ANALYSIS: Imposing a Statewide Property Tax

SAME BAD ARGUMENT, DIFFERENT TAX It is a long held view among many elected officials that the only thing preventing exemplary achievements for students in state run schools is insufficient funding. If funding goes up without any apparent results, it simply means funding has not gone up enough. Recently, individuals of this mindset in South […]

Why S.C. Lawmakers Can’t Pass a Budget on Time

EVERY YEAR, LAWMAKERS TRY TO PASS POTENTIALLY CONTROVERSIAL CHANGES THROUGH THE STATE BUDGET. BUT NOT EVERY PROBLEM IS A FUNDING PROBLEM. Legislators returned to Columbia July 6 for a third week of extended session. The purpose, in part: to vote on the governor’s budget vetoes and thereby finalize the fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget. The […]

State Budget Sets Records, Vetoes Make Zero Difference

THE STATE BUDGET IS A TRANSACTION BETWEEN TAXPAYERS AND GOVERNMENT. HERE’S WHAT YOU’RE BUYING. After being rushed through a secretive committee process, the fiscal year (FY) 2016 conference budget – which reconciles the budgets passed by the full House and Senate – was voted on and passed by both chambers before the public ever saw […]

King v. Burwell: Reality Check for States

● U.S. Supreme Court defines federal agency as “state” ● Millions will continue to be subject to individual, employer mandates ● Only one way remains to circumvent ObamaCare Last week the Supreme Court issued its second major ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which once again sided with the Obama administration. The new ACA […]

How Lawmakers Have Made Themselves FTEs

‘IF THEY BELIEVE THEY AREN’T BEING PROPERLY COMPENSATED FOR THE WORK THEY DO, THEY SHOULD REDUCE THEIR WORKLOAD’ Watch the General Assembly long enough and you’re sure to hear the popular complaint about how South Carolina lawmakers are underpaid. Rep. Bruce Bannister (R-Greenville) recently proposed an amendment to a budget bill to provide a substantial pay increase […]

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UPDATE: Surplus, Capital Reserve, Sine Die, Uber

SESSION IS OVER … ALMOST The third week in June ended on a tragic note in the General Assembly, and attention has rightly been away from legislative business. In the interests of keeping tabs on the legislature, however, here’s a summary of the main business at present. Supplemental appropriations bill  The House passed a supplemental appropriations […]

Why the ‘Uber Legislation’ Is a Missed Opportunity

LAWMAKERS HAD A CHANCE TO ADVANCE ECONOMIC FREEDOM IN SOUTH CAROLINA. THEY MISSED IT. Lawmakers have introduced a number of bills this session designed to clear up the legality of ride-sharing services in South Carolina, and all of them have accepted the premise that the industry needs state regulation rather than freedom from it. Rather […]

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Why the Surplus Won’t Solve Anything

STATE HOUSE ECONOMICS, CHAPTER III On Monday the House Ways and Means Committee unanimously approved a standalone bill to appropriate $415 million in surplus revenue. The proposal is separate from the state budget bill, which is ordinarily where lawmakers appropriate surplus revenue when it becomes available. The proposal would divvy up the $300 million over which […]

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Why the Gas Tax Is a Tax – Not a “Fee”

THE DISTINCTION IS VITAL, AND STATE LAWMAKERS ARE WRONG TO IGNORE IT A common mentality inside the South Carolina General Assembly holds that all private goods and services belong to government. We’re calling this a mentality, not a doctrine or an explicit belief, because lawmakers rarely if ever state it explicitly. But the mentality is […]