Governor’s Statements are another Exaggeration About State Spending Figures
Office of the Speaker
SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2009
Contact: Greg Foster
Governor’s Statements are another Exaggeration
About State Spending Figures
Office of State Budget reports 2.8% annual growth rate
(Columbia, SC) – Today, Governor Mark Sanford released his proposed 2009-2010, $5.8 billion executive budget. Throughout his remarks on the proposed budget he routinely states that lawmakers have grown government faster than proposed growth rates and claims spending grew over 40%. The Governor is once again grossly exaggerating the facts. Speaker Harrell said, “If he wants people to believe he is sincere, I challenge him to present a budget to the General Assembly that cuts spending by 40%. Either do that or explain to the public why he won’t.”
Just last year, Governor Sanford proposed the highest level of spending of any governor in our state’s history, $7.5 billion which is $61 million higher than the budget passed by the General Assembly, and now he wants to take others to task even though the General Assembly spent less money than he recommended. These numbers can be confirmed by the Office of State Budget (OSB).
The facts are that since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in 1994, the OSB reports that average annual growth in spending has been 2.8%. This number can be confirmed independently though the Office of State Budget. That is a growth rate that is less than population plus inflation growth over the same time – the proposed rate of growth used in the 5 spending limit bills passed by the House in the past decade.
This year’s proposed executive budget follows Governor Sanford’s $7.5 billion spending proposal from last year – which was the largest spending plan ever proposed by any Governor in South Carolina’s history. In fact, the Legislature passed a budget that was $61 million less than the Governor’s requested executive budget, leaving Governor Sanford’s $7.5 billion spending request the largest budget ever proposed or adopted in our state’s history.
House Speaker Bobby Harrell said, “To say that spending has grown over 40% is just not true, and Governor Sanford has to know this. The facts simply do not agree with these claims. Clearly stated, spending has grown at an annual rate of 2.8% since Republicans have been in control, well below proposed growth levels of population plus inflation.”
While holding yearly growth to 2.8%, the General Assembly has also passed significant and permanent tax relief. Just last legislative session, lawmakers passed the largest-ever recurring tax cut by cutting over $221 million from the budget. In fact, the Board of Economic Advisors calculates that since Republicans have been writing the budget, over $15.4 billion have been returned to the taxpayers. These facts can be confirmed by the office of the Board of Economic Advisors.
Speaker Harrell stated, “This Republican-led General Assembly has a proven record of stopping efforts to raise taxes, has held spending yearly to 2.8%, passed the largest tax cut in our state’s history and has put more than $15.4 billion back under the control of the taxpayers, not the government. All of these facts can be confirmed by the Office of State Budget and Board of Economic Advisors.”
“During this nationwide economic recession, South Carolina – along with almost every other state in the nation has had to make budget cuts. Even with a 2.8% growth rate, there are other steps we can take to insulate us from such extreme economic shifts. If the spending limit bill the House has passed 5 times in the past decade were to become law, our state would have larger reserves set aside to absorb these reductions in revenue.”
While claiming over 40% growth, the Governor’s Office does not disclose how they reached their figure. The OSB produces a public document each year calculating growth and reports a 2.8% annual growth rate.
“First of all – unlike the Governor’s in-house calculations – these are not our figures; they are produced by outside-independent sources. Everything stated in this press release can be confirmed by the Independent Office of State Budget or the Board of Economic Advisors,” Speaker Harrell added. “Their work is like the old TV show Dragnet, it’s ‘just the facts’.”
# # #