The House Budget’s Five Worst Economic Development Provisos

Next year, the state of South Carolina will receive around $25 million dollars from the National Mortgage Settlement, a joint federal-state lawsuit against loan servicers awarded to parties affected by illegal housing foreclosures. In the House Budget’s Proviso 90.19, state legislators have decided, confusingly, to apportion this entire settlement to economic development. Despite attempts by legislators to introduce provisos that would use the money for its intended purpose, this proviso sends the entire award to the Deal Closing Fund at the Department of Commerce, a yearly appropriation used to “sweeten the pot” for economic incentive deals that ranges from $5 million to $10 million.

Stimulus Dollars Not Going to Teachers and Law Enforcement

Last session, legislative leaders argued South Carolina needed every dollar of the state’s $2.8 billion federal stimulus package to save jobs for teachers and law enforcement personnel. Faced with such dire needs, Gov. Mark Sanford’s suggestion to use $694 million in stimulus funds to pay down the state’s $8.2 billion debt sent legislators into a …

Total Employment Falls, Local Government Hiring Continues to Grow

Last week, we demonstrated that South Carolina’s improved employment picture hasn’t really improved much at all. Rather, government hiring and a shrinking labor force are making the job numbers look better than they are. Our analysis looked at government hiring from January to May 2010. The numbers for June—which account for the elimination of thousands …

The Incentives game

Government-driven economic development is a secretive process in which politicians give away tax exemptions, subsidies, and other taxpayer-funded incentives to private companies. Politicians “invest” tax dollars without disclosing any meaningful analysis or information on the company, without providing an estimated return-on-investment, and with no public input.

Special Legislative Report

It’s business as usual in South Carolina. Out-of-control spending, over-regulation, and an out-of-touch Legislature determined to govern behind closed doors. And while we’ve cringed at political gaffs and ugly politics that made national news, it’s what goes on behind the scenes that threatens our liberty and free market prosperity. This Special Legislative Report summarizes some of the most important actions taken by the General Assembly in the 2010 session. It’s also important to note what lawmakers did not do this year: