A money-losing, quasi-government agency that runs a military museum in Charleston, S.C. was awarded $2 million this week from the secretive “other funds” section of the South Carolina state budget.

The “Patriots Point Redevelopment Authority” – which already received $8.5 million from taxpayers in the current (FY 2012-13) state budget – says it needed this latest infusion of funds to pay for salary increases and other unspecified expenses. The money was approved by a vote of the S.C. “Joint Other Funds Oversight Committee,” which is comprised exclusively of South Carolina lawmakers.

Patriots Point – which recently received a $9.2 million taxpayer-guaranteed bailout it has been unable to repay – is under tremendous financial strain. It’s also under pressure from the U.S. Navy to make repairs to its signature exhibit – the U.S.S. Yorktown. Those repairs could cost upwards of $100 million, money that South Carolina taxpayers do not have to spend.

More to the point, South Carolina lawmakers have no business forcing taxpayers to subsidize a military museum – or any museum, for that matter. Running museums ought to be the exclusive purview of the private sector, as we’ve said on repeated occasions.

Accordingly, we call on the S.C. General Assembly and Gov. Nikki Haley to zero out funding for this totally unnecessary expense in the coming year’s budget – and to place $10.5 million into a newly created “taxpayer rebate fund.”