State agencies defy budget law

November 17, 2016

Investigative Reports

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
By HANNAH HILL

SC State agencies defy budget law

Something does not compute here

Most state agencies aren’t following the law regulating agency budget requests. An examination of their 2017-2018 submissions suggests they aren’t even trying.

State law requires that agencies submit the following on or before Nov. 1:

  • An itemized budget estimate on forms provided by the governor as well as justification for both new and recurring expenses (11-11-30, 2-7-65)
  • Detailed statements of the sources of all funds in their budgets, including federal funds (2-65-20)
  • Information about any strings attached to the spending of those funds, including matching requirements; program requirements; anything that limits the state’s authority to revise, extend, or eliminate the program for which federal aid would be spent; and information about any federal funds available but not used.

The University of South Carolina’s budget request, for instance, is merely composed of a handful of program revisions and one-time appropriation requests, totaling $99.4 million, which is 8.9 percent of last year’s appropriations to USC.

There’s no breakdown of the total federal or other funds the university is asking for, and no details of any ways in which those federal funds are restricted.  (Last year’s budget allocated $176.6 million of federal dollars to USC.)

The Department of Transportation’s budget request totals $567.6 million, which is 30 percent of total DOT appropriations in the 2016-2017 budget. DOT gives no details on the entire amount of federal or other funds it will likely receive (last year’s budget appropriated $1.754 billion in other funds to DOT).

These are just two examples. To see the entire list of 2017-2018 agency budget requests, click here.

More alarmingly, the House and Senate budget requests are also missing. Last year, House appropriations were $21.9 million; Senate, $14.2 million.

Not only does the state government seem uninterested in the budget laws that the General Assembly wrote, the incomplete requests here suggest that it likes to flout them.