Budget Growth Since 2007 – Fast and Furious

LAWMAKERS OVERSEE EXPLOSION IN FEDERAL FUNDS, FINES & FEES Each year during the budget debate, legislators talk about the responsible spending included in the budget. In this year’s debate, for instance, a House leader described the historically high budget as “reining in government spending.” But the numbers tell a different story. Since 2007, the total budget […]

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‘Small’ $2.6 Billion Bond Bill to Hit Ways & Means

PAYING FOR ROUTINE RENOVATIONS WITH DEBT HAS BECOME A THING A House Ways and Means subcommittee has begun laying groundwork for a bond bill, characterized as a “small” expenditure by subcommittee members. The full committee will consider the bill soon. While agency requests for bond funding totaled more than $2.6 billion (most of those requests came […]

House Passes $27.3 Billion Budget

‘CONSERVATIVE’ BUDGET A FULL BILLION DOLLARS BIGGER THAN LAST YEAR’S Late Tuesday night the House passed by far the largest budget in state history, as it usually does this time of year. The spending plan totals $27.3 billion – a $1 billion increase over last year’s budget. The vote was 113-5. One significant amendment that passed […]

Reforming the Judiciary in One Short Bill

A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO RESTORE THE BALANCE OF POWER The most frequent criticism made of South Carolina’s form of government – it’s also the most accurate one – is that the legislative branch dominates the other two branches. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the selection of judges: lawmakers pick them, pure and simple. […]

UPDATE: Senate Gas Tax Plan

THIS ONE’S A STRAIGHT-UP TAX HIKE [Update: A quick side-by-side comparison of Senate and House bills is available here.] This morning the Senate Finance subcommittee took up H.3516, the gas tax hike legislation that passed the House last week. Sen. Vincent Sheheen proposed a strike-and-replace amendment, which was adopted as the “working document” with which […]

House to Chip Away at Roll Call Requirement?

RESOLUTION WOULD ALLOW HOUSE TO BYPASS ROLL CALL ON BUDGET SECTIONS In 2008, the Policy Council released a study revealing that the South Carolina General Assembly passed bills with recorded votes only 5 percent of the time. In short, lawmakers were passing hundreds of laws on unrecorded voice votes, thus in effect exempting themselves from […]

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UPDATE: House Passes Gas Tax Increase

MODEST REFORM MEASURE INTRODUCED, BUT PREMISE STAYS THE SAME On Tuesday the House considered the gas tax hike bill (H.3516). House leadership proposed an amendment that would divert 20 percent of the vehicle registration and license fees to the Education Improvement Act fund (protecting the current education funding structure). The amendment also gave the governor […]

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Biz License Reform Bill Not Much of a Reform

BUSINESS LICENSE TAXES ARE CONFUSING AND PUNITIVE. A REFORM BILL IN THE LEGISLATURE WOULD DO NOTHING TO CHANGE THAT. By any reckoning, one of the most widely hated taxes is the business licensing tax – and that’s true in virtually any state or municipality where such a tax is levied. The reason for this dislike […]

ANALYSIS: The Pension System Reform Bill

SOUTH CAROLINA’S PENSION SYSTEM IS IN THE RED BY TENS OF BILLIONS. A NEW BILL WOULD TINKER WITH THE SYSTEM. After months of deliberations and expert testimony, the Joint Committee on Pension Systems Review finalized its recommendations on identical bills filed in both the House (H.3726) and Senate (S.394). These bills change both the funding and […]

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South Carolina roads legislature

House Leaders’ Gas Tax Bill

LAWMAKERS’ ANSWER TO THE ROADS PROBLEM IS STILL THE SAME: YOU HAVEN’T SENT ENOUGH MONEY TO COLUMBIA [The text of this analysis has been updated to reflect the bill’s most recent version. Updates on the bill’s history mentioned at the bottom.] House leaders filed H.3516, a bill allegedly designed to repair South Carolina’s deteriorating road system. […]