Will the Budget & Control Board really go away?

It would be nice to think so. Senate Republicans are rightly touting that possibility:

Columbia, SC – February 16, 2012 – The South Carolina Senate today passed the most significant piece of restructuring legislation in the past two decades, passing a bill that completely eliminates the state Budget and Control Board.

The new bill puts most of the functions of the Board under a new, Cabinet-level Department of Administration, and devolves the rest of the Board’s functions elsewhere. The end result is a more efficient, accountable structure for the state’s administrative functions, rather than the current system of having a five-member board control those functions. The bill had been a top priority for Gov. Nikki Haley, and now goes back to the House for approval.

“There’s an old saying that when everybody is in charge, no one is in charge, and that’s been true for too long with too much of state government,” said Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler. “This bill will let the people of South Carolina hold their leaders accountable for the results of state government.”

The bill’s two primary Republican sponsors, Senators Tom Davis and Shane Massey, issued the following statements:

“This bill has been a long time coming, and it’s gratifying to now see it so close to the finish line,” Davis said. “Our government has been plagued by an unaccountable structure that breeds inefficiencies. Today, we took a significant step toward correcting that.”

“This bill strikes a good balance between giving the executive branch control and accountability over administrative functions, while requiring the legislature to perform critical oversight,” Massey said. “This bill is all about a better, more efficient government that allows voters to hold elected officials accountable.”

Of course, since it’s a party document, it conveniently ignores that the most insistent advocate of replacing the Board with a department of administration in recent years has been Democrat Vincent Sheheen.

Oh, well. It’s not like the idea was anyone’s personal property. The release says, “The bill had been a top priority for Gov. Nikki Haley.” Well, yeah. And Mark Sanford. And The State newspaper, since at least the point when I started writing about it in 1991. And Carroll Campbell. And anyone who respects the American concept of separation of powers, which the Board’s existence blatantly violates.

5 thoughts on “Will the Budget & Control Board really go away?

  1. `Kathryn Fenner

    The Department of Administration sounds an awful lot like the BCB Lite, to me. I guess the weird Gang of Five control feature will be gone, so that’s an improvement.

  2. Juan Caruso

    Under Vincent Sheheen’s “plan” of legislative oversight, how does the currently neutered executive obtain the power common to other state executives?

    The more things change, the more they stay the same (but a sharp lawyer stamps his brand cleverly upon it)?

    The reality is, Brad, that voters have oversight of both branches of government. Under current law (in a state long dominated by lawyer-politicians, however, recourse has been stymied by corrupt governmental structure.

    Nikki Haley promised change, and apparently it is being delivered under pressure ewvewn slick SC lawyers have nort been able to withstand.

    Just my opinio, or the opinion of hundreds of thousands of fed up voters?

  3. Brad

    I missed the Sheheen statement. Don’t know HOW I missed it yesterday afternoon, but here it is:

    “We’ve taken a crucial step in modernizing and transforming state government today. Citizens are closer to having a government that is more open and accountable.”

    “It’s taken many years to get to this point and I’m grateful for the efforts of Democrats and Republicans to help pass this needed reform.”

  4. Brad

    Amazingly the Senate Republicans put out yet another release today, this one saying, among other things:

    “The Senate’s bill completely eliminated the Budget and Control Board, and put the vast majority of those functions under a new Department of Administration, which is directly accountable to the governor. Creating this Department of Administration was a top priority for both the Senate Republican Caucus, and for Governor Nikki Haley.”

    And not one word of acknowledgment that Vincent Sheheen was pushing this, and strongly identified with it, before it was any kind of priority for the above-named parties…


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