Only Three Liquor Stores? A Tale of Regulation

HOW A SIMPLE, WELL-INTENDED REGULATION TURNED INTO A TANGLED MESS Earlier this year, a report at The Nerve detailed an attempt by a few lawmakers to insert a budget proviso into the state budget. This proviso – a one-year budget law – would effectively limit the number of brick-and-mortar liquor stores a person or company […]

Category: Featured, Taxes & 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 […]

How Can Citizens Get Answers on Roads?

THE SYSTEM MAKES IT DIFFICULT – BUT IT’S NOT IMPOSSIBLE South Carolina’s transportation system is not accountable to any one elected official, and that’s by design. Even so, after several years of pressure from citizens and some piecemeal changes to the law, there are ways for South Carolinians to engage with transportation policymakers. (1) Citizens […]

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: Featured, 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:

Disclosure: What the Law Does & Doesn’t Require

LAST YEAR’S DISCLOSURE LAW LEAVES OUT A LOT – A LOT THAT YOU CAN ASK FOR Last month, we launched Project Income Disclosure with the aim of giving citizens a way to ask for voluntary transparency on matters of income. Taxpayers have a right to know about the financial relationships existing between their elected officials and […]

Category: Featured, Transparency · Tags:

Why the Governor’s Budget Won’t Be Debated

SOUTH CAROLINA’S EXECUTIVE BUDGET GETS IGNORED – AND THAT’S HOW LAWMAKERS LIKE IT On websites and editorial pages across the nation, Americans are debating President Donald Trump’s proposed budget. The president’s budget would, among other things, increase defense spending by over $600 billion; cut $193 billion over ten years from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, […]

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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:

The Gas Tax, the Infrastructure Bank, and Lawmakers’ Word Games

• Legislature began diverting fees to Infrastructure Bank in 2005 • Diversion of Funds meant to circumvent state constitution • In 2003 lawmakers changed the name of the gas tax to a ‘fee’ • After credit downgrade, legislature continued to divert funds to STIB (The following provides historical background for this analysis of H.3516, the gas […]

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 […]