The South Carolina House and Senate continue to grapple over a state government reorganization bill that would break up the present Budget and Control Board and move some of the board’s functions over to a new Department of Administration under the control of the governor.
State Treasurer Curtis Loftis, a member of the Budget and Control Board, says he favors turning over many of the board’s duties to the governor, the Senate version gives away too much.
“The bill is not a good bill. It’s pretty good when it deals with the more simple things like cars, buildings, computers and state employees and stuff. That’s all pretty straightforward and we can get that over there. The problem is when you deal with complex issues like pensions and long-term debt and finance,” says Loftis.
Loftis says decisions on long-term financial matters should not be made solely by the governor. A pension plan has a time horizon of 30 to 40 years; I don’t think it’s wise to have a person who’s in office for only four years making those decisions. What we want to find out is how we manage the pensions and other long-term financial obligations without having some unwieldy situations and without having just one person in charge.”
Loftis would like to see an amended bill that would give the responsibility of short-term financial decision-making dealing–such as fleet management and building maintenance–to the governor’s office. He says long-term decisions must have greater oversight.
“What I’d like to do is to say let’s move all the other stuff over there (governor’s office), that’s about 80 percent of the Budget and Control Board’s duties. Let’s send that over to Nikki Haley right now. She’ll run that, she’ll do a good job, and next year she’ll be able to come back to the general assembly and say look, you guys gave me this and look how well we did; and that’s important. Now these other things, we’ll have to study them”
Anne in WCRS Greenwood contributed to the story.