HOW MUCH IS THE PALMETTO STATE REALLY SPENDING THIS YEAR?
|| By FITSNEWS || Another year, another totally pointless debate over government spending in South Carolina. And while it’s easy to blame glad-handing politicians at the S.C. State House, we’re becoming increasingly convinced the real culprit is the state’s increasingly worthless mainstream media.
For the last six months, the “MSM” in the Palmetto State (which get millions in government subsidies each year) have been bemoaning a lack of funding for the state’s “crumbling roads and bridges.” The refrain has become deafening over the last few weeks, as a principled pro-free market State Senator – Tom Davis – has been blocking a gasoline tax hike with a filibuster.
But why are roads and bridges crumbling (a fact we don’t dispute)?
These MSM outlets refer to a $6.6 billion state budget – and a multi-billion annual “shortfall” – but they neglect to point out to their readers these two important facts:
1) South Carolina’s budget isn’t $6.6 billion, it’s more than $25 billion.
2) The so-called “shortfall” they reference includes hundreds of millions of dollars in totally unnecessary new highway construction projects.
Why don’t they tell you any of this?
Good question: It’s their job to tell you. And the fact that they aren’t telling you (and haven’t been telling you for years) is one of the reasons those roads and bridges are crumbling.
But we digress …
Let’s ask the simple question: How big is the state budget?
Again, to hear the MSM tell it – it’s $6.6 billion.
According to the summary control version of the latest budget plan presented by the S.C. House of Representatives, though, we’re actually looking at a spending plan totaling $24.5 billion.
That’s broken down (roughly) as follows: $6.8 billion in general funds (i.e. money collected from state taxes), $8.3 billion in federal funds (i.e. “manna from heaven”) and $9.4 billion in “other funds” (i.e. monies generated from hundreds of different fees and fines assessed on the people of South Carolina).
Oh, and that total doesn’t include $1.5 billion in food stamp funds (money taken off the books by lawmakers last year) so when you add that to the total, we’re looking at $26 billion.
That’s a lot of cash …
Now, lawmakers like to claim they only control the “general funds,” but that’s not true. They raise fees and fines all the time – meaning they have control over the “other funds,” too. They can also dramatically impact the amount of federal funds available (more on that here).
So … are we saying the mainstream media are lying to you?
Yes … repeatedly.
Oh, and this money doesn’t include cash appropriated to the state’s reserve funds – nor the hundreds of millions in debt it owes on all sorts of bonds (including a massive borrowing bill for roads and bridges approved just two years ago).
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: There is more than enough money available for South Carolina’s government to adequately maintain its network of roads and bridges (and fund necessary expansions) – our leaders are simply choosing not to do so.