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FITSNews – October 12, 2007 – South Carolina is facing a $430 million budget deficit for FY 2008-09 and doesn’t have the cash to pay for everything our crazy-spending, business-unfriendly legislators’ included in the current state budget, the S.C. Board of Economic Advisors said yesterday. The Board had projected $250 million in revenue growth this year (which legislators have already spent, of course), but it turns out South Carolina is showing negative income growth over the first three months of the fiscal year that began July 1.

Negative income growth? In South Carolina? Geez, you’re friggin’ joking … what the hell could have caused that?

Oh wait, we know … instead of cutting taxes that would have actually stimulated economic growth (i.e. personal income, corporate income taxes), legislators instead embarked on a social welfare program that included grocery tax cuts and a paltry $86 million in income tax relief for bottom-rung earners. Worse still, these “tax cuts” came on the heels of a populist property tax/ sales tax swap from a year earlier that also failed to provide any real tax relief – let alone target it toward job creation or income growth.

As if all that wasn’t bad enough, legislators also blew through $1.5 billion in new spending last year alone, part of a 41% increase over the past three years.

Of course this isn’t the first time South Carolina “Republicans” have spent like drunken Democrats and then left taxpayers holding the bag … the same exact thing happened just before the last budget meltdown in 2001-02.

But while your income growth remains stagnant, your taxes remain high, your schools remain the nation’s worst and your government remains asininely splintered, wasteful and dysfunctional, there is some good news …

For example, State Sen. Hugh Leatherman sent $9 million in pork out back home to Florence County for a new performing arts center and museum, and House Ways & Means Chairman Dan Cooper got over $1 million to build some athletic fields and a sports complex up in Anderson (named after his dear old pappy, “Dolly” Cooper).

So yeah – our state’s economy may once again be in the sh*tter, but at least there’s exercise to be had in Anderson and culture to be found in the Pee Dee.

Oh, and nice work by the BEA, too. These “economic advisors” always hit it on the mark … if by “on the mark” you mean missing the revenue estimates by a quarter of a billion dollars or more almost every year.

Seriously, we could put an intoxicated monkey with a “Price is Right” wheel at the helm of the BEA and get more reliable economic forecasting than we’re getting now.

UPDATE – By the way, the $430 million deficit doesn’t even include the court-mandated $60-100 million for 4-K pre-school, any additional road or bridge funding, state employee cost-of-living raises and a whole bunch of other sort of important stuff.