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#SCStateHouse: No Budget Deal

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Earlier this week, we wrote a detailed recap on the status of annual budget battle in South Carolina.

For those of you new to the game, every year Palmetto State “Republican” lawmakers argue around the edges of an ever-expanding big government behemoth that does absolutely nothing to improve outcomes for citizens.

Each and every year it’s nothing but more expensive failure, guaranteed … and this year is no exception.

As we noted in our report, lawmakers in the S.C. House of Representatives are battling with their counterparts in the Senate over an estimated $67 worth of deficit spending.  Uber-liberal S.C. Senate president Hugh Leatherman wants to spend this money on various pork projects (many of which are in districts of the Democratic senators he relies on for his governing majority).  Meanwhile House budget writers – led by equally liberal ways and means committee chairman Brian White – want to spend the money on a desperately needed crime laboratory at the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and $13 million for facilities upgrades at the S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDC).

If neither side “wins,” the money would go toward paying down the state’s escalating debt.

Of course there is another option: Gridlock.

If the representatives and senators tasked with ironing out a budget deal refuse to back down, the spending plan might not get a vote.  And if the impasse extends beyond July 1 – the beginning of the 2018-2019 fiscal year – the state would operate on a continuing resolution that funds government at the same levels as last year (which would be just fine by us).

Our view?  We believe SLED’s crime lab and the SCDC upgrades are mission critical projects tied directly to core functions of government.  The fact that our “Republican” legislature is putting them on a deficit spending line is absolutely inexcusable.

Having said that, we don’t believe these items should be funded with red ink … especially not in a budget that is growing by more than $1 billion from the previous year’s spending plan. 

Put these spending items on the line and cut somewhere else.  Like, here.

Anyway, according to our sources there will be no budget deal anytime soon.  Specifically, we’re told an agreement between House and Senate negotiators is unlikely to be reached until after statewide partisan primary elections on June 12.

Yeah … so much for lawmakers shortening the legislative session and doing the people’s business more efficiently.

Are we surprised, though?

Hell no …

It’s the same thing every year in Columbia, S.C.  Core functions of government get shortchanged, taxpayers get ripped off and lawmakers get to evade accountability at the polls.

The banana republic is alive and well, people …

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