Mo’ Money, ‘mo problems, they say … and in South Carolina, that invariably seems to be the case for taxpayers. Despite massive investments in the bureaucratic state over the past decade, the Palmetto State continues producing substandard outcomes on virtually every meaningful metric.
This is particularly true economically … as small businesses continue struggling under the weight of this top-heavy system. With each new investment in duplicative alphabet soup agencies or corporate welfare misadventure, key indicators keep blinking red.
Is anything changing at the S.C. State House in response? Is the nation’s most liberal GOP legislature (three years running) doing anything to fundamentally amend its failed strategy?
Absolutely not … if anything, “Republican” supermajorities continue doubling down on the failed approaches of the past. And this year is no exception.
This year, GOP lawmakers were poised to spend a record $36.6 billion perpetuating their failed banana republic – a whopping $2 billion more than they spent last year. On Tuesday afternoon, though, they received word from the bean counters there was even more of the people’s largesse to set on fire.
According to a release (.pdf) from the S.C. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs (SCRFA), the state’s financial economic advisors met this week and concluded another $564 million would be flowing into the state’s general fund coffers for the current fiscal year – pushing the total to an even $13 billion.
That’s $2.7 billion more than was appropriated in the previous budget.
General fund revenues come from state tax receipts (income, corporate, sales, etc.) and represent roughly one third of the annual state budget. The other two sources of income are federal funds ($11.7 billion in the current spending plan) and so-called “other funds” – which are derived from fees and fines assessed by the state. “Other funds” represent the largest section of the current spending plan, clocking in at a whopping $13.4 billion, based on the latest version of the budget.
Of interest? Many mainstream media outlets don’t even report on these two latter categories – leading citizens to believe the state’s annual spending plan is literally one third its actual size.
Here at FITSNews, if lawmakers are spending it … we are reporting on it. Every last penny.
Anyway, in addition to having $564 million in new money to play with during the current fiscal year – which ends on June 30, 2023 – lawmakers have $240 million in new general fund money to play with for the coming fiscal year, which begins on July 1, 2023 and runs through the end of the following June.
(Click to view)
That puts the estimated general fund total for the coming year at $12.6 billion – or $1.1 billion more than what has currently been appropriated. Add up the totals from both fiscal years and there is a $3.8 billion surplus of general fund revenue between now and June 30, 2024 – based on what has currently been budgeted.
Are lawmakers returning any of this extra money to the taxpayers? Again … absolutely not.
They are spending it … including massive new appropriations for the Palmetto State’s bloated, duplicative system of higher education (which should have been privatized years ago). Want to peruse the orgy of excess for yourself? Click here (.pdf).
While this eleventh hour influx of new funds would appear to be “good news” for establishment politicians and their insider allies, this year the vibe is different. Members of the S.C. Freedom Caucus are (rightfully) assailing House speaker Murrell Smith for refusing to provide tax relief or parental choice – while on the other side of the coin grubby paws in the lobby are noticing Smith is rewarding certain special interests and punishing others on the basis of their lobbyists.
Who is Smith favoring? And why? Stay tuned … the final few hours of this deeply dysfunctional session of the S.C. General Assembly could get very interesting.
While Smith’s parlor games will no doubt drive our insider audiences, the bottom line for the citizens and taxpayers of the Palmetto State remains unchanged.
They are paying more for less … again.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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