Taking the Power Back: Eight Reforms

HOW CAN WE MAKE SOUTH CAROLINA’S POLITICIANS THE LEAST POWERFUL AND MOST ACCOUNTABLE IN THE NATION? (1)  Restore judicial independence. The public deserves confidence that judges rule independently of the legislature whose laws they judge. South Carolina is the only state in the nation in which the legislature unilaterally appoints judges even when vacancies arise. […]

SC General Assembly

Budget Process Remains Secretive

THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY TO ACHIEVE BUDGET TRANSPARENCY, AND THAT’S TO FOLLOW THE LAW  The budget debate this session was one of the most bizarre we’ve seen yet. It wasn’t that many years ago that the state’s Budget and Control Board was making across-the-board budget cuts owing to the recession and the state’s inability to meet its […]

How Lawmakers Have Made Themselves FTEs

‘IF THEY BELIEVE THEY AREN’T BEING PROPERLY COMPENSATED FOR THE WORK THEY DO, THEY SHOULD REDUCE THEIR WORKLOAD’ Watch the General Assembly long enough and you’re sure to hear the popular complaint about how South Carolina lawmakers are underpaid. Rep. Bruce Bannister (R-Greenville) recently proposed an amendment to a budget bill to provide a substantial pay increase […]

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Why the ‘Uber Legislation’ Is a Missed Opportunity

LAWMAKERS HAD A CHANCE TO ADVANCE ECONOMIC FREEDOM IN SOUTH CAROLINA. THEY MISSED IT. Lawmakers have introduced a number of bills this session designed to clear up the legality of ride-sharing services in South Carolina, and all of them have accepted the premise that the industry needs state regulation rather than freedom from it. Rather […]

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Gas Tax Plans: More of the Same

S.C. POLITICOS HAVE  PRODUCED AT LEAST FOUR MAJOR PLANS TO “FIX OUR ROADS.” NOT ONE OF THEM WILL ACCOMPLISH THAT GOAL. HERE’S WHY. How would a massive tax hike fix all our roads and bridges and cut our income taxes? It won’t. But that hasn’t stopped South Carolina politicians from pushing multiple versions of this […]

How Does Road Money Get Spent?

WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM? WHO SPENDS IT? WHO ARE THEY ACCOUNTABLE TO? The debate over road funding has seen a number of outrageous and contradictory claims. On the one hand, for example, we’re told that the Department of Transportation (DOT) faces a $43 billion shortfall; on the other that it’s a flawlessly run […]

Who Holds the General Assembly Accountable?

ANSWER: NO ONE. CONSIDER A RECENT ATTEMPT TO RAISE REVENUE IN THE SENATE. The General Assembly has long dominated South Carolina politics. Members of the House of Representative and Senate elect judges, perform executive functions such as procurement, and investigate and punish ethics violations in their own bodies. The pervasive nature of legislative dominance is […]

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Fixing Our Roads: Real Answers, in Plain English

THROWING MORE AND MORE MONEY AT A BROKEN SYSTEM IS HOW WE WOUND UP WITH A DECREPIT ROAD SYSTEM IN THE FIRST PLACE. THE WAY FORWARD IS SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Over three years ago, our policy analysts began warning that, thanks to South Carolina’s convoluted government structure, road maintenance was being neglected throughout most of the […]

Weak, Confusing Ethics Bill Has One More Shot

● One last chance for this year’s omnibus “ethics” bill ● Self-policing provision makes little actual improvement ● Income disclosure provision contains loopholes, exceptions The Senate may take one more shot at ethics reform when the legislature returns from break next week. The chamber has already taken one shot at passing a bill this year, […]

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Why S.C. DOT Still Needs Reform – Badly

● The S.C. Department of Transportation is an unaccountable mess. ● Act 114, the 2007 “reform,” improved virtually nothing. ● What little Act 114 did improve may soon be repealed. Some lawmakers and Department of Transportation (DOT) leaders are fond of saying there’s no problem with management of DOT. There’s barely an ounce of waste […]