$229 MILLION ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK
South Carolina “Republicans” led by Brian White – the top budget writer in the S.C. House of Representatives – are secretly plotting to eliminate the state’s local government fund so that they can spend this revenue at the state level.
Multiple sources familiar with the fiscal maneuvering tell FITS the local government line item – which totaled $229 million in the current (FY 2014-15) budget – was put on the chopping block by White at a recent meeting of “Republican” lawmakers in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
“We have forty-six counties and umpteen city governments,” one lawmaker familiar with the discussions tells FITS. “You know the saying – a million here, a million there. That’s why (the fund) needs to end.”
Yet while some claim the $229 million will be appropriated toward “tax relief,” it’s far more likely the revenue will wind up being dumped into the same bloated bureaucracies, needless programs and politically motivated, pork barrel projects lawmakers always seem to have enough money to fund.
In fact multiple members of the S.C. House Ways and Means committee – which is chaired by White – say the powerful lawmaker has already approached them about “earmarking the money for road paving.” White is also supporting a gas tax increase to raise revenue for the state’s roads.
(For more on that scam, CLICK HERE).
South Carolina spent a record $24.1 billion in FY 2014-15 – and that’s not counting $1.5 billion in food stamp payments lawmakers moved offline following the FY 2013-14 fiscal year, which ended on June 30.
So yeah … at a time when citizens’ income levels are stagnant and labor participation is at a record low, government is larger than it’s ever been. Yet lawmakers’ don’t have enough money to pave roads? Ridiculous …
According to one source, removing this $229 million fund from the budget will result in local governments doing one of two things: Raising taxes or cutting services.
“Cities and counties will be forced to raise taxes or cut essential services such as police and fire,” the source warned.
Really? As recently as 2011, twenty-six of South Carolina’s forty-six counties reported were sitting on fund balances totaling $591 million. We’ll try and get more recent figures as this debate moves forward, but the bottom line is local governments – like state government – aren’t exactly hurting for cash.
The problem is how they’re spending it …