SC

SC Lawmakers Planning To Raid Local Government Fund

$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…

$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 …

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32 comments

CorruptionInColumbia August 24, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Hmmmm…, this is a tough one to figure out. It may not be as bad as it sounds. State government squanders money. This is true. Also, look at places like Columbia, that cannot find enough foolish ways to piss away tax money, whether it is on an abandoned warehouse, an unnecessary, inappropriate for location, baseball stadium, or some other such silliness. Then you have Lexington County, always with more sports complexes that it doesn’t need, or Kershaw County with Sheriff Jim and his terminal case of the “cant-help-its” spending money and organizing his manpower in foolish ways at every turn. Maybe cutting off the local funding isn’t such a bad idea, especially IF they were to refund it to the taxpayers.

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EREY August 24, 2014 at 5:49 pm

Haley says she has a roads plan but no details until after the election. Now we have this potential source of road paving money and hopefully, the assembly has enough votes to raise the gas tax and earmark that money for roads. HOWEVER, Lexington County and Greenville County want to raise the sales tax for EIGHT YEARS for roads and (in case of Lexington) more unneeded recreational stuff. Why not just wait and see what happens on state level before raising the local sales tax??

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Nancy Pelosi August 24, 2014 at 10:09 pm

“Haley says she has a roads plan but no details until after the election.”

We have to elect the Bitch before we know what the plan is.

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swervin ervin August 24, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Plan is this. I fuck the folks while the folks get fucked. That is the buz.

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EJB August 25, 2014 at 6:59 am

They, Lexington County Council, don’t want the penny sales tax increase for roads, they just want the money, period. I was there when they voted on starting the process for the increase, they voted to proceed with the tax first then they voted to create a committee to go to all the municipalities to see what they wanted to spend the money on when they get it. Yes, they voted for a tax increase before they had a reason for it. I know the tax has to be approved in the November elections but council voted to proceed with the tax increase process, they voted for it, so that makes them the ones that increased the tax if and when it passes. Talk about putting the cart before the horse, I was dumbfounded.

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Thomas August 25, 2014 at 8:01 am

That is correct. They threw in some local projects to misdirect the voter’s attention away from another tax increase that will never be rescinded. It is no secret Lexington County et. al. need the money for rising healthcare costs for county employees first and foremost.

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EJB August 24, 2014 at 5:52 pm

As far as the $591M, there is an organization called SC Organization of Counties or something similar and it’s sole purpose is to show County Council members and administrators how to get things past the people. Read some of their literature, it’s like the book “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinski but made up of County councilmen from various counties.

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Yep! August 24, 2014 at 9:46 pm

The simple fact is that government never has enough money. Government doesn’t earn it/work for it, so it naturally is as simple to them as turning the spigot for more as it suits them.

That’s why no matter what is done, it will never be enough. It is the nature of government.

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Beartrkkr August 24, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Anyone want to start cracking away at all the 500 or so special purpose districts?

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Deo Vindice SC August 24, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Get the Taxpayers money, come one and all.

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SCBlues August 24, 2014 at 6:44 pm

“South Carolina “Republicans” led by Brian White . . .”
Fits – I am trying to understand why you used quotation marks around the word Republicans in your first line? Are we to assume if these were Republicans without the quotation marks that they would not be trying to get their hands on this money??? (Maybe we need the poster named Fits Ain’t No Republican to weigh in here?)
And how much of a “secret plot” could it be with all of these “multiple sources” spilling the beans to you? Your attempt at intrigue falls a bit flat here.

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Fits Aint No Republican August 24, 2014 at 8:26 pm

Sure.

This is a standard Fits move.It works like this:

Fits “claims” that all these REPUBLICANS ,that he doesnt approve of ,arent “Real” REPUBLICANS.”Real” REPUBLICANS are those that follow Fits line 100%.Failing to do so may cause the offending REPUBLICAN to have the infamous quotation marks attached to him.

Silly?

Of course.Fits himself is a REPUBLICAN ,who occassionally disagrees with his fellow party members and uses this sophomoric approach trying vainly to “hint” that such and such isnt a “real” REPUBLICAN like well,….(fill in the blank)

When he really gets riled up he “claims” he indiscriminately blasts the GOP claiming hes”finished with them” or some such which,of course, if he is and they are so bad,why does he bother to “claim” with his quotation marks that so and so isnt a member of a party he claims to have no affinity for?

Its all geat fun really ,but come on,Fits Aint No Republican?

Hah Hah Hah!

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SCBlues August 24, 2014 at 9:00 pm

“Its all geat fun really ,but come on,Fits Aint No Republican?”
I love your posts!

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I'm Just Asking August 24, 2014 at 7:19 pm

“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 …”

So what in the hell do food stamps (a Federal program) have to do with road paving? For that matter, what in the hell does overall government spending have to do with road paving? Oh, I know. You believe in Nikki’s “money tree” concept, a concept that heretofore would have been laughed out of the Ways and Means Committee because highway funding has historically been funded by user taxe (excise on fuel).

Some of us, FITS, know the difference in propaganda and economics. Some of us even understand budgets and the intricacies involved.

Some of us are willing to call bullshit on you.

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Vote Haley out August 24, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Read the nice fluff piece that was written about Haley today awwww ,,,

http://www.thestate.com/2014/08/23/3636241_exclusive-how-anger-over-2010.html?rh=1

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Clarendonian August 24, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Haley’s communication people must be rank amateurs, dumb as heck, or both. Why in the world would a competent Governor admit to a prolonged “temper tantrum?” Obviousy, as one would know, my question was rhetorical……she is not competent.

You can’t make this stuff up!

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swervin ervin August 24, 2014 at 8:29 pm

I am incompetent. Got a problem with that and can you loan me another million?

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shifty henry August 24, 2014 at 9:07 pm

HA..!!

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Hippocritter August 24, 2014 at 10:08 pm

“Even after news of his affair led Haley to remove Sanford references from her website”

Sweet Jesus, who the hell let that one slip through?

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swervin ervin August 24, 2014 at 10:37 pm

God

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Hippocritter August 25, 2014 at 9:47 am

When you changed your name Sandi, were you admonished for being obvious?

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CorruptionInColumbia August 25, 2014 at 10:38 am

“Douglas Brazell · Top Commenter · Dentsville High School
As a registered Democrat, I will vote for Governor Haley. I did the last time and for all the good she has done for this state, I will vote for her again. I would vote for Sheheen, if he was all that was running. I would wright in my Yard maintenance man’s name.”

I always suspected the guy was a little dense but geeze, did he have to advertise it?

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nitrat August 24, 2014 at 7:42 pm

This is what happens in every small government, Norquist pledge signing idiot legislative Red state.
They have hamstrung themselves with Grover’s pledge and have to kick everything down to the local governments which have to raise taxes and fees.
So, you stupid SCGOP voters, don’t go whining when your millage rates go up along with your water and sewer bills so that you can have cops on patrol.

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I'm Just Asking August 24, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Reality is one helluva awakening, nitrat.

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swervin ervin August 24, 2014 at 10:33 pm

I just woke up.

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What? August 24, 2014 at 8:02 pm

A fund balance does not mean cash reserves. It is possible to have a billion dollar fund balance and no cash! When are you know it all’s going to take a damn accounting class. You really show your ignorance when you talk about things you have no clue about!

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Elfego August 24, 2014 at 8:23 pm

There is really only one party in South Carolina and that is The Democrat Party. There are no true Conservatives in the Legislature of this state. As far as I am concerned they all are crooks!

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Thomas August 24, 2014 at 9:43 pm

ATT spends 2.8 billion dollars a year providing their 230,000 employees Blue Cross/Blue Shield healthcare coverage. South Carolina has 400,000 employees with Blue Cross/Blue Shield healthcare policies. The money to keep these folks covered, increasing exponentially under Obamacare, is never released or talked about.

How much is the SC taxpayer paying out for 400,000 BC/BS healthcare insurance policies? What are the cost projections for 2015, 2016, or 2017? Is the SC taxpayer now obligated to cover offspring from the 400,000 after they turn 18 up to age 26? How much money is added to cover these people? What are the cost projections for 2015, 2016, or 2017?

Answer those questions and you will understand the reasons for sales tax increases at the county level and the shifting of hundreds of millions of tax dollars at the state level. They are trying to pay for healthcare costs and increases for 400,000 people and families! SC is going broke trying to keep the ponzi going!

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Thomas August 25, 2014 at 2:26 am

SC’s data is not easy to find. However, using data from other states, premiums for the 400,000 public workers in SC are expected to rise 20-40% in 2015. It is easy to see SC budget writers are looking for 2-300 million bucks to cover “going to happen” healthcare premium increases for 2015.

ARIZONA: 2015 premium increases up to 25.5 percent

LOUISIANA: ‘Double-digit increases’ up to 24% possible

TENNESSEE: 2015 Premiums Could Increase up to 21.7%

NEW YORK: 2015 premiums could increase up to 19.7%

VERMONT: 2015 premiums could increase up to 18.3%

MICHIGAN: 2015 premium increases up to 18 percent

VIRGINIA: 2015 premiums could increase up to 14.9%

IOWA: 2015 premium increases up to 14.5 percent

OHIO: “Premiums would increase 13 percent next year

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EJB August 25, 2014 at 7:11 am

Perfect example of SCDOT spending money recklessly. They say they have no money to fix roads and bridges but they put up the sound barriers along Interstate 20. The people that live along Interstate 20 came there long after the Interstate but yet feel they have some kind of right to complain about noise from the Interstate, ridiculous. The reckless part is SCDOT putting up the sound barriers for those people’s benefit (comfort) when roads and bridges around the state need the repairs (safety) they claim, piss poor prioritization.

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Mark August 25, 2014 at 8:02 pm

I am with Brian White. the Counties and Cities budget have ballooned. They want more money and will get it regardless. Dump the money it not roads…everyone benefits.

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Adam February 12, 2015 at 7:55 pm

The rural counties aren’t rolling in cash, and to lump all counties into the same category of flush budgets is deceptive. Counties like Greenville or Charleston might have significant liquidity, due to heavy industry presence, but counties like Bamberg are barely scraping by with some of the highest property taxes in the state. No county is the same as another. The rural counties need financial help to provide the same services as those counties with strong tax bases. Either that, or they need to redraw the county lines to lump the rural areas into the metropolitan areas. That would reduce local government officials and more evenly split the pie. Or, they can simply fund the LGF without a huge waste of time and State resources in solving an already solved problem. The KISS method should apply to government too.

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