How South Carolina “Shrunk” Its Budget By $1.5 Billion
HINT: IT DIDN’T SHRINK ANYTHING …
South Carolina’s state budget for the coming fiscal year is currently slated to grow from $22.8 billion to $23.6 billion – most of it thanks to S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s massive Medicaid expansion.buy adipex no prescription
But is this $23.6 billion total (which is expanding at a time when citizens’ income levels are stagnant and labor participation is at a record low) really reflective of how much money state lawmakers disburse?klonopin online pharmacy
No … the actual total is $25.1 billion (at least).buy soma online no prescription
Last year, South Carolina budget writers played a clever little trick on us … “shrinking” total state spending by nearly $900 million at a time when all indications pointed to considerable growth. So … how did they do it?buy ultram no prescription
That’s easy: They didn’t do it. Budget writers – with approval from Haley – simply moved $1.5 billion worth of spending off of the books, turning a $600 million expansion of state spending into a $900 million reduction.ambien for sale
What $1.5 billion are we referring to? Food stamps …alprazolam for sale
Here, take a look at this screen grab from the FY 2013-14 budget’s summary control document showing the “transfer to unbudgeted account” of the state’s “food stamp assistance payments.”buy provigil no prescriptionbuy tramadol no prescription
Oh, and here’s the amount (note the corresponding line) …buy phentermine online without prescriptionbuy xanax online without prescription
Amazing …buy valium no prescription
That, ladies and gentlemen, is how “Republicans” in South Carolina cut spending … they simply move it someplace you can no longer see it.buy ativan online no prescription
Food stamps in South Carolina are administered by the S.C. Department of Social Services (SCDSS) – perhaps the worst-managed agency in Haley’s cabinet. Two years ago, this website uncovered a major scandal at SCDSS involving the food stamp program – which at the time totaled $1.3 billion.buy diazepam no prescription
Not long after we revealed cooked books at the agency relating to food stamp error rates and other data, sources tell FITS that Haley’s administration began a push to remove the program from the state budget.
They succeeded … and nobody caught the missing money until this month.
Reporter Rick Brundrett of The Nerve gets credit for the scoop, although he “buried the lede” in a story written last week about the pay raises lawmakers are awarding to themselves in the coming budget.
That $2 million also isn’t included in a line item within the state budget …
South Carolina’s governor campaigned on transparency. Not only that, she made a huge stink about forcing lawmakers to cast on-the-record votes for individual sections of the state budget. But then – when a major scandal strikes one of the largest welfare programs administered by her cabinet, she leads an effort to hide $1.5 billion of your money?
That’s totally unacceptable …
In fact this year’s budget not only removed the $1.5 billion, it removed any reference to it being transferred.
Wow. Not even Kaiser Soze can disappear like that, people.
For years, FITS has argued in favor of real spending transparency – specifically the creation of a searchable “online checkbook” that would track every single expenditure made by government and categorize every penny according to purpose, authorizing agency, etc. Of course lawmakers – including fiscally liberal S.C. Sen. Larry Martin – have said they don’t have $1 million to spend on such a database.
Really? But they have $2 million to spend on raises for themselves?
Oh right … like the $1.5 billion in food stamp payments, you won’t find that money anywhere in the state budget.
Both are like Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption, they “up and vanished like a fart in the wind.”
South Carolinians deserve to know where every dime of their money is being spent: That was the whole point of the “transparency” Nikki Haley campaigned on four years ago.
Sadly, Haley is once again leading the effort in the opposite direction …