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 […]

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Taking the Power Back: Eight Reforms

HOW CAN WE MAKE SOUTH CAROLINA’S POLITICIANS THE LEAST POWERFUL AND MOST ACCOUNTABLE IN THE NATION? (1)  Restore judicial independence. The public deserves confidence that judges rule independently of the legislature whose laws they judge. South Carolina is the only state in the nation in which the legislature unilaterally appoints judges even when vacancies arise. […]

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 […]

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 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. The bond bill […]

Gov. Haley’s Budget: Same Deal, More Money

THE GOVERNOR DOUBLES DOWN, PHONES IT IN Update* Budget documents prepared by the Executive Budget Office not available at the time of initial publication reveal an even larger executive budget. The full executive budget comes in at $26 billion, an $890 million increase in total appropriations over last year’s budget. Gov. Nikki Haley has released her […]

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What Will the State Do with the Surplus?

PROBABLY NOT WHAT CHESTER ARTHUR WOULD HAVE DONE You might have recently heard that South Carolina ended the fiscal year with a higher-than-expected surplus – a surplus big enough to cover the entire list of items on lawmakers’ $235 million surplus priority (a.k.a. “pork”) list and still give them an extra $32 million to “distribute” […]

Governor Vetoes 0.07 Percent of the State Budget

HOORAY FOR LIMITED GOVERNMENT, RIGHT? After the General Assembly rammed through a record high $25.5 billion state budget with little public debate, Governor Nikki Haley had the opportunity to make some substantial vetoes of items in the bloated budget. Her vetoes amounted to roughly $18.5 million. That may sound like a lot, but it comes […]

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