A state Senate subcommittee is getting to work on a “Fiscal Fitness” agenda, one that is considering limits on the way state agencies raise and spend money.
Charleston Senator Glenn McConnell named the panel and set the agenda.
AUDIO: McConnell’s agenda (3:25)
McConnell says this to-do list is partly a response to the State Budget and Control Board allowing state agencies to deficit spend. He is particularly critical of the five-member board approving a $221 million shortfall for the Department of Health and Human Services.
Panel member Sen. Shane Massey (R-Edgefield) says “We are a feast or famine budgetary state.” He says he agreed with comments that they heard at Wednesday’s public comment session, asking senators to protect the state’s “rainy day” reserve fund.
“So that, when times are difficult, we’re not having to cut to the bone on the different programs, which is where we’ve been in the last few years because we didn’t have enough saved up. And that happens because typically when the money comes in, we spend it,” says Massey.
This is a subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, says McConnell, not a finance committee. “This deals with the administration of government–deficits, charging taxes without a vote of the General Assembly, how do you put a constitutional limitation on the growth of government, all constitutional amendments come through the Judiciary Committee. For that reason, this package, although it looks similar to things in Finance, most of it deals with the administration of government,” says McConnell.
The Senate Finance chair also sits on the Budget and Control Board and voted to allow the deficit spending criticized by McConnell.