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 […]

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 […]

Gas Tax Plans: More of the Same

S.C. POLITICOS HAVE  PRODUCED AT LEAST FOUR MAJOR PLANS TO “FIX OUR ROADS.” NOT ONE OF THEM WILL ACCOMPLISH THAT GOAL. HERE’S WHY. How would a massive tax hike fix all our roads and bridges and cut our income taxes? It won’t. But that hasn’t stopped South Carolina politicians from pushing multiple versions of this […]

ANALYSIS: Senate Compromise on Road Funding

A COMPROMISE? SURE. A COMPILATION OF ALL THIS YEAR’S BAD IDEAS? THAT TOO. Last week, a majority of Senate Republicans produced a compromise on the subject of road funding. At this point, the legislation itself isn’t available to the public; we only have a press release. But if that release accurately reveals the plan’s details, the […]

The Myth of the Tax Swap

STATE HOUSE ECONOMICS, CHAPTER II Following the governor’s lead on tax swaps, more than 20 Senate Republicans unveiled the outline of a compromise amendment to the Senate Finance gas tax bill. The heart of the proposal is the swap of a 1 percent cut to all income tax brackets for a variety of tax and […]

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