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 […]

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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How the State Uses Borrowed Money

● State issues bond debt through a murky, complicated process ● Process shields lawmakers from accountability for debt spending ● Real power belongs to two boards few citizens have even heard of ● Two lawmakers (probably not yours) have seats on both boards ● State’s general obligation bond debt now at $326 million and climbing ● State now saddled with […]

The Legislature’s $2.2 Billion Debt Bomb

● Bill would raise revenue by creating debt ● Senators seemingly unaware of state’s debt problem ● Plan would expand highways, do little about repair/maintenance of roads So far in this year’s legislative session, lawmakers have been unable to pass a tax increase for roads repair. Rather than giving up on the effort and sending […]

South Carolina budget legislation

What Lawmakers Want to Spend in 2017

  ● Ways & Means budget $1.28 billion larger than 2016 budget ● Committee does not treat roads as priority ● Lots of increases in education, but no real change in approach ● Medicaid continues to expand in state that “didn’t expand Medicaid” The House Ways and Means (W&M) Committee budget has been released. The […]

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Bill Would Send More Subsidies to Farms

FARMERS WERE HIT HARD DURING LAST OCTOBER’S FLOODS. SO WERE MANY OTHERS. BUT ARE MORE GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES ALWAYS THE ANSWER? [Note: Gov. Haley signed this bill in June, 2016.] Thousands of individuals and businesses have received governmental assistance following South Carolina’s historic rainfall and flooding in October of 2015. However, one industry in particular has […]

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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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SC General Assembly

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 […]