Ready to Watch Lawmakers Not Follow the Law?

THE STATE BUDGET LAW – WHAT IT IS, WHY IT MATTERS, WHY LAWMAKERS IGNORE IT Debate over the state budget has already started, but you don’t know anything about it. Of course, that’s intentional. Legislative leaders have long preferred to keep the public out of discussions of each year’s state spending plan, and this year will be […]

Disaster Relief: Who’s Paying, and How Much?

TAKEAWAYS: ● Federal-state agreement on cleanup costs not available to public. ● Key officials in relief effort not accountable to any statewide official. ● State-federal assistance system is a dizzying web of bureaucracies. ● S.C. taxpayers will have to pay 25 percent of all government relief effort. ● South Carolina has money on hand for disaster relief and […]

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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 […]

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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 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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UPDATE: State Budget on Senate Floor

LAWMAKERS’ PRIORITIES: MORE DEBT, HEEDLESS INCREASES TO STATE COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES This week the state Senate is debating the state budget produced by the Senate Finance Committee. This spending plan, unsurprisingly, is the largest budget produced this cycle, weighing in at $26.1 billion (that’s including a $1.5 billion appropriation for food stamps that was moved in […]

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Lawmakers Continue to Raid Victims’ Funds

IT’S MONEY. THEY WANT TO SPEND IT. THAT SETTLES IT. ANY QUESTIONS? In a little remarked upon move, South Carolina House members scrambled last month to insert line items from a failed bond package into the Capital Reserve Fund and Part 1B (provisos) of the state budget. To do that, members had to make minor […]

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