B&C Board cuts state budget in the worst way

Not that I’m criticizing the Budget and Control Board (even though, as our governor is fond of saying, it’s an entity that shouldn’t exist). It doesn’t have any other option than to cut across-the-board, which of course is the worst way to cut the budget, since it makes no allowance for the fact that some functions are more essential than others, and some have been damaged by previous cuts more than others.

But only the Legislature can make those kinds of decisions — not that ours ever does, to the extent that it should. That’s another thing that the governor is right about — and something Vincent Sheheen would fix if he could: his vision of restructuring includes giving the legislative branch the tools it needs to be up to speed on what’s actually happening in the agencies it funds.

Anyway, Converse Chellis shifted the balance of power today by voting with the governor and Rich Eckstrom to cut the budget by another $238 million. The legislative members had wanted a smaller cut, but the treasurer thought it best to act more boldly now, since he anticipates a further drop in revenues.

I’ll have to ask Converse to elaborate on that next time I run into him at breakfast…

9 thoughts on “B&C Board cuts state budget in the worst way

  1. martin

    And, you need to congratulate him for his ability to think independently. Our legislatively appointed Treasurer seems head and shoulders above the elected and extremely partisan, not to mention posturing and pandering, Richard Eckstrom. Eckstrom just isn’t very professional to me. And, I don’t think diddly of the legislature.

    I think there’s some advantage to across the board cuts. It allows each agency to really look at itself and, if it has capable management, do some hard thinking about how they essentially need to reorganize to get the job done with less money.
    Unfortunately, they rarely seem to look at state office management. I guess because they are literally too close to those employees. Frequently, that’s where the main problems are with bloat and ineffective, out of touch with the front lines middle management.

  2. Doug Ross

    Innovista could be cut. Slush funds used for pet projects could be cut. Boards could be cut or consolidated. Plenty of places where the money could come from if those career politicians who run the state could be exposed for what they are. Too bad there isn’t a local paper willing to be the voice of the people instead of the marketing branch for Walmart.

    The money is all there. Too bad the government lacks the sense of stewardship that is required.

  3. BIll

    From The Re-State comments:
    blueforce wrote on 12/15/2009 03:41:47 PM:

    Why are there never any cuts mentioned for the grossly overpaid, bloated staffing at the Budget and Control Board? These employees are ALWAYS receiving pay adjustments because there is no oversight. In fact, the Director is a TERI employee who has already passed the 5 year mark on retirement. There are a number of others on TERI at this place.

  4. Kathryn Fenner

    Across-the-board cuts presume that we care no more about abused and neglected children than we do about huntin’ and fishin,’ say. DSS will be cut just the same as the Hunley…and Doug–is Innovista an ongoing funding obligation of the state, and if so, and we reneg on commitments, won’t that screw up our bond rating and raise our interest rates?

    People people people–you can’t squeeze bloat out of a starving agency, and DSS is certainly one. When the economy goes bad, people don’t cut back on abusing and neglecting their children–quite the opposite. There is no fat left to cut. The attorneys already make less than many so-called underpaid teachers.

    and that’s just one agency I know a fair amount about.

    Some agencies simply have a more critical mission than others.Some programs may be very nice in good times, but in bad times, don’t we want SLED and the agency taking care of the well-being of our children adequately funded, perhaps at the cost of say, the Agriculture department.

    You have a point about Eckstrom–he can’t even steal smartly from the state–he only took a state van on vacation, instead of the plane.

  5. Norm Ivey

    When I run into personal budget constraints, I begin by looking where I have the most money being spent. Often, I have already pared those areas to the bone (mortgage, for example). Then I look at the unnecessary expenses (going out to eat is a pleasurable experience, but not necessary). I keep a mental list of things I want-need (cable and cell phone service for example) that I can jettison in case of a real calamity. I suggest that the B&CB be empowered to approach budget cuts the same way according to some pre-determined priority list included in the budget. They could assign larger percentage cuts to lower-priority areas.

  6. Steve Gordy

    Not strictly on this thread, we might also note that our political leaders are congratulating themselves on “keeping terrorists out of South Carolina.” Meanwhile, Carroll County, Illinois may see as many as 3000 new jobs from the transfer of Gitmo inmates to the prison at Thomson. Just one more reason to say, “Thank God for Mississippi”!

  7. bud

    The “Thank God for Mississippi” reference may no longer apply. In some areas MS has caught up with and even passed us. Take traffic safety for instance. Following the 1992 restructuring debacle, a major contributor to government money woes today, South Carolina’s highway safety efforts took a nosedive. For years MS had the worst safety record in the nation. In 2008 they had improved to the fifth worst while SC is now at number 3. Only wild-west Montana and Katrina hangover Lousiana have higher mileage death rates.

  8. Kathryn Fenner

    If we keep doing the same, we will be the state everyone thanks God for. The trajectory is there unless we do something differently….a lot of things differently.

    We were the butt of Saturday Night Live’s opening joke, again. It isn’t just Sanford, either — the jokes are funny* because there is a lot of truth there: we are a fiscal disaster, and it is only slightly Sanford’s fault.

    *unless you live here and your job was cut, or your job wasn’t cut and you have to work yourself crazy and still fall behind, or you are a child at risk of abuse or neglect, or…..

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