State Treasurer Curtis Loftis took to the airwaves to express his frustration on the General Assembly’s inability to agree on restructuring bill.
Last Wednesday, South Carolina House leaders passed a measure that would break up the present Budget and Control Board into three new agencies, thus rejecting the Senate’s version of the bill.
Appearing on Greenwood affiliate WCRS last week, Loftis said he feels that lawmakers prefer to treat the issue as a perpetual political football. “I’m beginning to be convinced that the people who talk the most about it don’t want it to pass,” he said, “They want to continue talking about it every year because it’s a vote-getter and to me that’s reprehensible. We need a Department of Administration.”
The House version of restructuring would transfer more than 80 percent of the Budget and Control Board’s employees to a new governor’s Cabinet-level Department of Administration.
Loftis wants the handling of pensions and long-term debt financial matters in a separate department– in this case, a new State Contracts & Accountability Authority. He says the governor’s office would be able to handle the remaining functions. “It needs to have all those ministerial functions in it: running the cars, and the gas pumps, running the computers, I-T (information technology functions), and human resources. All those things are programmatic functions of government.”
Loftis says he thought the Haley Administration missed out on an opportunity early on to have a restructuring bill passed because they asked for too much. Loftis says he talked to Haley before her inauguration about pushing for government restructuring as soon as she got into office.
“We have a Tea Party wind to our back. The conservative movement is alive and well,” Loftis said he told the new governor, “Let’s get that 80 percent of the Budget and Control Board we talked about; let’s do that right now. The Democrats will sign on, the Republicans will sign on, and we’ll have it on your desk in no time. Next year let’s worry about the bonding and the pensions. They said no, they wanted it all.”
Loftis says they got nothing on restructuring last year and he’s afraid that a bill will not reach the governor’s desk before this year’s session is over.
Anne Eller of Greenwood affiliate WCRS contributed to this report.