Back scratching, at expense of SC taxpayers

A cohort at the S.C. Policy Council recently detailed one the most egregious examples of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do that I’ve seen in a long, long while.

Rick Brundrett highlighted the fact that while South Carolina state law required state agencies to have filed their proposed budgets for the upcoming fiscal year by last Nov. 1, the state’s General Assembly apparently doesn’t feel itself beholden to that statute.

In fact, both the S.C. House and S.C. Senate routinely unveil their proposed budgets months after other state agencies have done so, according to Brundrett’s story in The Nerve.

Jim Merrill, R-Berkeley, a state lawmaker on the House’s budget-writing committee, even acknowledged that the normal budget-hearing process traditionally hasn’t been applied to House or Senate chamber budgets.

What that means is legislative leaders can add in large budget increases for their respective chambers much later, typically at the very end of the legislative session, when the media and public are focused on the budget as a whole, rather than individual aspects.

Brundrett pointed out that the House quietly slipped in a $2.3 million increase for itself for this fiscal year on the last day for regular legislative business last June.

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