SC Spending Watch: Strawberry Fields Forever?
For the past two years the Fort Mill (S.C.) Strawberry Festival has been honored as the “Event of the Year” by the S.C. Festival and Event Association (yes, the Palmetto State actually has such an entity).
Exciting news, right?
Not for taxpayers. In addition to receiving public resources at the local level (from the town of Fort Mill and the Fort Mill School District), the Strawberry Festival is one of many events sponsored by Certified SC Grown, a promotional program run by the S.C. Department of Agriculture.
Should South Carolina be in the business of funding local festivals? Of course not. In fact this website’s first big exclusive six years ago dealt with a $46 million legislative slush fund – one which steered tax dollars toward these local boondoggles. And while lawmakers eliminated this “competitive grants” program in response to our report, they’ve clearly found other ways to funnel money into these festivals.
Look … we love parades. We love rides. We love good food. But these are simply not core functions of government – which means our leaders have no business forcing taxpayers to subsidize them.
In fact we have no business subsidizing a Department of Agriculture (SCDA) at all … which is why this website is proposing the elimination of this agency and its $13 million budget for the coming fiscal year.
What should be done with these “savings?” You guessed it … taxpayer rebates (in fact we’re now up to $84.5 million in tax dollars that could be pumped back into the economy by eliminating these unnecessary expenditures).
If our country is going to survive, government at all levels must begin the long-overdue process of prioritizing taxpayer-funded functions and eliminating those which do not serve a core purpose.