Your Money: An (Unfortunate) Update
ANOTHER $379 MILLION OF YOUR TAX MONEY IS HEADED DOWN THE DRAIN
S.C. Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom was late (again) in releasing his annual financial report for state government – a document which once again fails to provide an accurate accounting of how our state’s “Republican” leaders are spending your money.
For example … here’s a simple question: How much money did the S.C. General Assembly (with Gov. Nikki Haley’s near unanimous approval) spend during the fiscal year that ended on June 30?
That’s a good question. Mr. Comptroller? Ummmm …. Mr. Comptroller?
(Oh right … he’s been busy lately).
Anyway, Eckstrom’s office finally got around to closing the books on state government last week – but as usual his analysis only covers the state’s general fund revenues (i.e. the smallest of three main categories of state spending).
We know that lawmakers appropriated a record $22.1 billion last year (of which Haley approved 99.03 percent). That’s around $1.3 billion more than was appropriated during the previous fiscal year (FY 2010-11). We also know that Haley approved all but one quarter of one percent of the current year’s budget – which is in the $23 billion range.
But how much did government really spend last year? And how much more will it spend this year?
According to Eckstrom, taxpayers will shell out another $379 million in the coming fiscal year thanks to “supplemental revenue” from FY 2011-12. So … after growing government by nearly $2.3 billion over the last two years, naturally this “supplemental” funding is being returned to the taxpayers, correct?
Um … no. Despite the best efforts of S.C. Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort), “Republican” lawmakers have refused to create a “taxpayer rebate fund” to send these surplus revenues back to the taxpayers. In fact the S.C. Senate has rejected Davis’ efforts to rebate money each of the last two legislative sessions (here and here).
Where will they go? Glad you asked … lawmakers have a “supplemental appropriations” plan already in place to spend every last penny of this $379 million. In fact they had actually earmarked $397 million in new spending, but revenues fell short (and they agreed to a handful of Haley’s totally underwhelming budget vetoes).
With these new revenues in place, state spending for FY 2012-13 (the current fiscal year) will soar from $22.9 to $23.4 billion – extending a record for the most money spent by state government in a single year.
This is insanity … (i.e. doing the same thing and expecting a different result).
Seriously … our state’s income levels are shrinking, our unemployment rate has climbed by .7 percent over the last three months, our tourism economy continues to struggle and more than most states we are reliant on European exports. In other words, this is the time to be pumping more money into our consumer economy, not sucking more out of it.