S. 228 – Creates mini-government within Tri-County Technical College

This bill would create a powerful mini-government within the Tri-County Technical College for the purpose of driving economic development. This new entity – called an “enterprise authority” – would have the power to issue revenue bonds on behalf of the college, collect fees for undefined purposes, and possibly even exercise eminent domain. Such bonds must be approved by the State Fiscal Accountability Authority. However, this is in addition to bonding power the colleges have through their oversight board (the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education), essentially opening the door to more debt.

Nine of the 16 technical schools in the state already have an enterprise authority, and at least one of them is specifically exempt from oversight by the Joint Bond Review Committee, the Department of Administration, and the SC procurement code. Lawmakers in the future could move to exempt the other enterprise authorities from oversight as “economic development” needs become more pressing.

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