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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Senate Finance Passes Massive Tax, Fee Hike

• Committee raises gas tax by 12¢, with 2¢ increase each year • Doubles vehicle sales tax cap • Doubles House tax hike • Lawmakers say it would raise $800 million – largest in state history • Committee rejects even weak reforms to state’s road funding system • Citizens would pay more money for system they have no […]

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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House Budget: Misplaced Priorities

THE HOUSE FOUND MONEY FOR SPECIAL INTERESTS PROJECTS, BUT NOT FOR CORE SERVICES The recent House-passed FY16 budget is the largest of the three versions of the budget released this year (the other two include the governor’s budget and the House Ways and Means budget). The House budget restores the trend of each successive version […]

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S.C. Going the Wrong Way on Road Funding

FOR HOUSE LAWMAKERS, ROAD FUNDING IS ABOUT BUILDING NEW ROADS, ‘ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT’ – AND JUST ABOUT ANYTHING BUT FIXING THE STATE’S CRUMBLING ROADS AND BRIDGES.  Lawmakers are quick to bemoan the state of South Carolina’s roads and bridges, and virtually all have stated an intention to do something about it in 2015, but something terrible happens each time they’re […]

Why S.C.’s Deeper in Debt Than They Say

THE HOUSE IS DEBATING A $497 BOND PACKAGE. IT’S TERRIBLE IDEA, FOR LOTS OF REASONS. NOW TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT LAWMAKERS WANT TO SPEND THE MONEY ON. This week the House will consider a nearly half-billion dollar Capital Improvement Bond bill. The proposal is being considered as Part III of the General Appropriations Act. […]

Why the Infrastructure Bank Should Go

IT SERVES ITS PURPOSES, ALL RIGHT . . . AND THEY’RE ALL BAD As lawmakers and the governor seek to add more revenue to, and possibly reform, South Carolina’s broken transportation system, there is one glaringly obvious issue hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves: eliminating the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank (STIB). There is no entity […]