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Release – LAC Audit Shows Agency in Shambles

January 26, 2010

SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 26, 2010

Contact: Greg Foster

(803) 734-3125

gregfoster@schouse.gov

LAC Audit Shows Agency in Shambles

Reforming ESC for our state’s unemployed a must for 2010

(Columbia, SC) – House Speaker Bobby Harrell issued the following statement about today’s release of the Legislative Audit Council’s (LAC) audit of the Employment Security Commission (ESC):

“The LAC’s reporting of just how broken the ESC has become is shocking.  When Representative Kenny Bingham and House Leadership began its push for ESC Reform last year, we knew there were great concerns with the operations and accountability of this agency.  However, this report shows an agency in shambles.  This audit exposes a complete lack of accountability, transparency and an all-in-all failure by the Commission to accomplish basic goals.

“We must act swiftly to reform the ESC from a check writing agency to the job placement agency our state needs.  These oversights and failures have cost our citizens opportunities and jobs.  Reforming the ESC can’t wait another year, our state’s unemployed need it now.

“As revealed by the audit, the ESC watched as its Unemployment Trust Fund plummeted from an $835 million surplus in 2000 to a near $800 million deficit today but failed to alert the General Assembly to this concern.  Since July of 2000, that is a loss of $400,000 per day that has gone unreported in spite of at least two state laws requiring notification of the Legislature.

“Millions of taxpayer dollars have been lost to fraud and overpayments with no action taken to protect or retrieve our money.  Job placement has taken a backseat to simply throwing more money at our employment problems.  Only 40% of all the jobs available in our state are listed by the ESC and little is being done or followed up on to make sure qualified workers are connected with available jobs.

“Hopefully this exposing of how severely broken this agency has become will open the eyes of all lawmakers to the need for major reforms at the ESC.  This is one of the reasons why our state’s unemployment rate is far too high; an employment agency in disarray has done little to combat joblessness.”

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