By FITSNews || As Palmetto state lawmakers complain about budget shortfalls, a new report shows that government agencies in South Carolina have received a whopping $2 billion in so-called “stimulus” funds over the past thirteen months – a tab that’s still growing and which doesn’t include billions of dollars in federal funds doled out directly to city, county and other municipal governments.
These federal funds – combined with fee and fine increases – have enabled “Republican” budget writers in the S.C. House of Representatives to draft a $21.1 billion spending plan which, if passed, would be the largest state budget in South Carolina history.
So much for “living within your means” during tough times, right?
Meanwhile, has this “mother of all bureaucratic bailouts” actually done any “stimulating” of the state’s economy? Of course not. In fact, things are actually much worse today than they were a year ago – unless of course you work for the government.
South Carolina’s unemployment rate is through the roof and its revenues continue to plummet – a sign that already flat income levels are continuing to slide as the “Great Recession” enters its third year. In other words, the “stimulus” has done exactly what we said it was going to do over a year ago … nothing.
Well, “nothing” except saddling your grandchildren and great-grandchildren with a mountain of debt they’ll never be able to repay.
“It is, quite simply, the worst possible response to our current economic crisis that America could have come up with – making its taxpayers fund an unprecedented bailout of failed bureaucracies at every level of government with money we don’t have,” we wrote on the day this anti-free market abomination was signed into law.
Anyway, here’s a breakdown of the “stimulus” funding courtesy of S.C. Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom’s office:
Employment Security Commission, $959,532,892
Dept. of Health and Human Services, $584,459,829
Dept. of Social Services, $156,736,187
Dept. of Education, $108,958,425
Dept. of Transportation, $105,504,170
Dept. of Public Safety, $38,438,223
Dept. of Commerce, $33,155,242
Governor’s Office, $26,418,561
Department of Corrections, $22,000,000
Budget and Control Board, $15,221,535
Housing Finance & Development Authority, $7,321,753
Dept. of Juvenile Justice, $5,000,000
Board for Technical & Comprehensive Education, $4,494,936
Judicial Department, $4,000,000
Dept. of Health and Environmental Control, $3,677,602
Dept. of Probation, Pardon and Parole, $2,000,000
State Library, $1,685,045
Vocational Rehabilitation, $1,462,459
Forestry Commission, $1,192,233
State Law Enforcement Division, $1,066,927
State Treasurer’s Office, $933,073
Lt. Governor’s Office, $885,741
Educational Television Commission, $540,000
Arts Commission, $500,000
Archives and History, $500,000
Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School, $500,000
School for the Deaf and the Blind, $500,000
Commission on Higher Education, $364,440
Dept. of Natural Resources, $260,089
Dept. of Agriculture, $250,000
Law Enforcement Training Council, $120,000
Public Service Commission, $64,109
Prosecution Coordination Commission, $64,016
Attorney General’s Office, $39,576
Office of Regulatory Staff, $24,000
As he has done repeatedly in the past, Eckstrom blasted the failed “government-driven” approach of the stimulus.
“The continuing grim economic news shows that (the stimulus) simply didn’t work as advertised, and that more than a year later we seem to be far from the end of the road as far as economic conditions and state budget woes are concerned,” he said. “The stimulus was flawed for many reasons, high among them the fact that it was designed more to expand the size and scope of government entitlement payments to shower benefits on favored constituents than it was to create private sector jobs where they’d do the most good for the economy.”
Eckstrom begged state lawmakers to show restraint in spending – something they obviously appear disinclined to do based on the spending plan that’s currently making its way though the General Assembly.
“The failure of the stimulus to create jobs and stimulate the economy underscores the need for state and local leaders to more boldly do their part to encourage job growth and economic expansion by lowering taxes and reducing bureaucratic regulation – actions that historically have proven to stimulate economic growth,” Eckstrom said.
“Because the stimulus money runs out next year, we’ll soon face some tough choices about today’s artificially high spending,” he continued. “We must decide whether to replace disappearing stimulus revenues with tax increases or dramatically scale back government programs to more reasonable and affordable levels. While neither of those choices are easy, the sooner we decide, the easier it will be. We need to quit digging the hole any deeper.”
In addition to its disastrous economic performance, South Carolina has also fared poorly when it comes to “stimulus transparency,” with a report earlier this year ranking the Palmetto State among the nation’s worst when it comes to providing information about how the money is being spent.