The Senate is currently debating potentially the most important government restructuring legislation in decades (H.3066). The bill is intended to concentrate accountability by separating executive from legislative functions. But what’s “intended” and what gets signed into law are often two different things, and for that reason it’s worth taking a closer look at what the bill would actually do and whether it can be improved.
The Senate is currently considering legislation (H 3066) that would eliminate the Budget & Control Board (BCB), devolving the BCB’s responsibilities to a cabinet-level Department of Administration and a newly created entity called the State Financial Affairs Authority (SFAA). The Budget & Control Board would also continue to manage the state retirement system until July 1, 2013, at which time the BCB would be abolished and the retirement system would come under the purview of a new agency, the Public Employee Benefit Agency.
The Budget & Control Board is the only agency of its kind in the nation – a legislative/executive hybrid with vast powers and virtually no accountability. After 61 years, lawmakers are finally considering ways to eliminate it. Yet current plans don’t fully resolve the core problem – which is the concentration of power and the diffusing of accountability. Here are the kinds of reforms that would address that problem directly and decisively…
South Carolina’s General Assembly has long enjoyed a virtual monopoly of power over the state’s government and economy. The Legislature overshadows the executive branch and controls judicial branch appointments. Likewise, the Legislature directs South Carolina’s economy by means of numerous boards and regulations, as well as by distributing billions of dollars in economic incentives and tax breaks to special interests.
South Carolina’s Budget & Control Board (BCB) is a unique state agency, the only one of its kind in the country. While the Board itself is technically made up of five elected officials, the BCB is also a state agency that exercises centralized control over many of the administrative and personnel functions of separate state agencies. The Board also provides budgetary analysis through its Board of Economic Advisors division.