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Release – House Adjourns Sine Die

May 21, 2009

Office of the Speaker



May 21, 2009

Contact: Greg Foster

(803) 734-3125

House Adjourns Sine Die

Tough session focused on cutting government waste & costs savings

(Columbia, SC) – Today, the South Carolina House of Representatives adjourned Sine Die for the 2009 legislative year a full two weeks earlier than originally scheduled.

“The House had many legislative victories this year, successfully passing: Increasing the General Reserve Fund, Port Bill, Payday Lending, Voter ID, TRAC, Small Business Red Tape Reduction, Protecting Secret Ballot, Ultrasound Bill, Point of Sale, and others,” said House Speaker Bobby Harrell. “However, this year’s difficult budget situation and shorter session hampered our efforts to finalize some of those accomplishments into law. Next session, we’ll pick up right where we left off and finish the good work we started.”

With South Carolina still feeling the affects of the ongoing national recession, this year’s budget cuts – coupled with $1.4 billion in mid-year cuts – forced lawmakers to make tough decisions on where to prioritize state resources. The Republican led General Assembly made the difficult decision to cut government spending instead of raising taxes to address this shortfall in revenue.

Harrell commented, “Republicans in both the House and Senate held strong by resisting all efforts to raise taxes and instead cut government spending in order to pass a balanced budget. The last thing our economy needs right now is a crippling tax increase. Previous recessions have showed us that preserving our past tax cuts, focusing on job creation and cutting spending leads to a faster and bigger recovery for our state’s economy.”

In order to pass a balanced budget without raising taxes, lawmakers cut government waste wherever it could. The deep cuts to agencies’ budgets forced government to use the money it did have more efficiently.

“A silver lining to state budget cuts is that government must learn to be more efficient with taxpayer dollars,” Speaker Harrell said. “If these budget cuts help agencies save money by eliminating government waste and finding new ways to operate more effectively, those changes need to become permanent fixtures in that agency’s operations.”

The House also had to re-evaluate its priorities and find new ways to save money. By adjourning early and taking 5 additional furlough weeks, the House saved taxpayers over $400,000. This – combined with a hiring freeze, staff furloughs and salary cuts, printing cost reductions, utilization of Internet services, and many other cost saving measures – in total, greatly reduced operating costs and saved taxpayers well over $1 million.

“For example,” Harrell continued. “By dramatically reducing printing and technology costs, the House cut the cost of roll call voting in half. Increasing accountability is good government, and providing that increase in accountability at a much lower cost is a major victory for taxpayers.”

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