South Carolina’s annual six-month taxpayer-funded adult day care began this week – a.k.a. the second session of the 120th S.C. General Assembly.

The Palmetto State’s all-powerful legislative branch has officially reconvened, meaning your tax dollars are about to be spent by the billion on the perpetual expansion of America’s most bloated, corrupt, dysfunctional, inefficient and thoroughly inefficacious state government.

If something has proven successful at achieving a worthy objective, these clowns won’t pass it. On the other hand if something isn’t working, they will throw ever rising piles of your money at it.

The definition of insanity? Pretty much …

Anyway, despite the best efforts of status quo Gov. Nikki Haley – who loves to trumpet her government-subsidized economic development “victories” – it is not “a great day in South Carolina.”  Our state’s workforce has shrunk to an all-time low of 58.1 percent. Our income levels have plummeted. Our schools continue to fall further behind the rest of the nation. No one is serious about cutting unnecessary spending. And corruption? It’s everywhere – yet no one is held accountable.

Sound like a recipe for success in the 21st Century? Of course not …

So … what to do?

Fortunately there are several legislative proposals – and simple steps – lawmakers could take this year to stop the slide and get things moving in the right direction for a change.

The first and most important step?  Passing the income tax relief plan championed by S.C. Sen. Katrina Shealy (R-Lexington).  Shealy’s plan – which would completely eliminate the state income tax over the next five years – is needed even more urgently now in light of the massive income tax cut passed last year in North Carolina.

The next step? A universal parental choice bill similar to the one championed in 2011 by S.C. Sen. Larry Grooms.

More than any other reforms, these two measures would have dramatic reverberations on the immediate and long-term prosperity of Palmetto State residents … shrinking our state’s failed government and unleashing a wave of marketplace activity.

Beyond fundamentally shifting the balance of power from government to the marketplace, steps must also be taken to restructure, reduce and disinfect state government.

This website has written thousands of articles over the last six years detailing agencies which shouldn’t exist, bureaucracies which duplicate the unnecessary functions of those agencies, programs that scam taxpayers, specific expenses that waste money, employees whose jobs are superfluous, etc.

There are literally billions of dollars in desperate need of being cut from our state’s $23.4 billion budget … assuming any of the “Republicans” who lead South Carolina’s “Republican-controlled” government ever lift a finger in support of their party’s stated orthodoxy of “limited government.”

You know … instead of continuing to move in the opposite direction.

Of course we’ve been waiting for them to do so for some time … and it never happens (with tragic results for our citizens).

Anyway … once lawmakers have cut taxes, empowered parents, slashed spending and streamlined their antiquated government structure, they must create a framework for safeguarding the integrity of their new, 21st Century government.

“The ingredients for real ethics reform in the Palmetto State are surprisingly simple: Tough laws, tougher penalties and independent enforcement,” we wrote recently.

Unfortunately, Haley’s so-called “ethics plan” doesn’t even come close to what’s needed … preserving the ability of powerful lawmakers to police themselves (with predictable results).

All of this leads us to what’s needed most at the S.C. State House: Courage.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again but we can count on one hand the number of South Carolina lawmakers proposing common sense, pro-free market reforms. And while that’s unfortunate, what’s even worse is there is literally no one at the S.C. State House calling out the anti-reformers on their hypocrisy.

How can we expect the public to be educated about the shameful self-serving, ideologically inconsistent behavior of their elected officials if there is no one (save us) willing to educate them?

And so in addition to proposing laws aimed at accomplishing the objectives outlined above, more lawmakers must summon the intestinal fortitude to confront their colleagues who fail to support such reforms.

Absent that, nothing in this state is ever going to change …