State Budget Skyrockets in Ten Years
SO THIS IS THEIR IDEA OF “CONSERVATIVE” BUDGETING?
Despite South Carolina politicians’ claims over the past decade that South Carolina has a “conservative” budget, the FY 2014-15 budget passed by the House is significantly larger than the 2005-06 budget. When accounting for inflation – converting 2006 dollars to 2014 dollars – the $25 billion House budget is over $4 billion higher than the FY 2005-06 budget. That’s a 22.69 percent increase.
To be consistent, we are only talking about Part 1A of the budget, which doesn’t include money spent in the Capital Reserve Fund and other areas. Moreover, we included an additional $1.5 billion to the House budget’s Federal and Total Funds – food stamp funds for some reason taken “offline” in this year’s and last year’s budget, but included in the 2005-06 budget. (The Department of Social Services has not yet responded to multiple inquiries about the amount of food stamp money coming from the federal government for the upcoming fiscal year.)
While the General Fund has only grown by 1.76 percent (again accounting for inflation), the bulk of budget growth has come from dependence on Other Funds (27.61 percent increase) and Federal Funds (36.77 percent increase). There is nothing “conservative” about an increasing budget, regardless of where the increases are coming from. Indeed, the budget is even less “conservative” now than ever since reliance on federal funds includes the loss of sovereignty by forcing the state to comply with the federal mandates attached to that funding. Moreover, there is nothing conservative about a budget that doesn’t return surplus money back to the taxpayers.
For more details about the growth trends of South Carolina’s budget and specific agencies over the past decade, see our decade comparison report from two years ago.