House Budget Provio 90.20, or “The Slush Fund”
Each year during the budget process, state lawmakers take “left over” money from the General Fund (we’ve talked about how we feel about the idea of “left over” taxpayer money before) and the Contingency Reserve Fund and distribute it for various purposes. The Governor’s budget managed to exercise some discretion, awarding the $380 to four clearly non-recurring expenditures, like the Highway Turnback Initiative. The House Budget, on the other hand, awarded money to 34 different programs in Proviso 90.20. Apparently, none of these programs could have possibly been funded through any agency’s budget request. We’ve listed just a few of them below:
- General Reserve Fund – 5%, or about $98 million dollars.
- Department of Commerce – about $5.5 million dollars for the deal closing fund and research funds.
- South Carolina State PSA – about $80,000. This funding is to reimburse the University for the Costs associated with the recently completed audit by the Legislative Audit Council (LAC) of the Jim Clyburn Transportation Center. No other state agency audited by the LAC received such reimbursement.
- Department of Agriculture – $1 million, all devoted to marketing or the farmer’s market. As The Nerve recently pointed out, the Department’s use of state funds for marketing purposes is questionable at best.
- Department of Employment and Workforce – $30 million dollars. These funds go towards repayment of debt to the federal government.
- Harbor Deepening Reserve Fund – $180 million dollars. These funds are applied to the harbor deepening project in Charleston. Recently, the project became a source of controversy regarding a DHEC decision to approve permits that would allow for the Port of Savannah river-deepening project.