Governor, Comptroller, Legislators Call for Conservative Reforms
Governor Mark Sanford embarked on a two-day, ten-city tour today with Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, S.C. Policy Council President Ashley Landess and legislators to call for conservative reforms aimed at increasing accountability in state government. The group highlighted the need for reforming the way the state spends, the way government is structured, and increasing government transparency. The need for reform has never been more evident, as the state faces a $400 million shortfall due to overspending when state revenues were growing faster than the economy and made worse by an inefficient and unaccountable government structure.
"If we're going to deliver South Carolinians the kind of government they expect and deserve, it all starts with accountability," Gov. Sanford said. "That means accountability in the way we spend, the way we operate, and most importantly it means the notion of transparency in everything we do. There's a growing core of support for these and other commonsense conservative reforms - some of which have been defeated by the narrowest of margins in the past - and I'd ask everyone to make their voice heard on these fronts to their local legislator."
"The difference between a government that serves the people and one that serves itself is transparency. Government is at its best when it does business in the clear light of day," Eckstrom said.
Among the conservative reforms that will be pushed by the governor next year are:
Spending Limits - Government spending grew by 40 percent over the past four years, a rate far faster than the growth of the underlying economy. The governor is calling for legislation to limit spending increases to the growth in population plus inflation. A similar measure has in the past passed the House and was narrowly defeated in the Senate.
Restructuring - Gov. Sanford is asking for the passage of a bill creating a Department of Administration, which would perform many administrative functions currently handled by the state Budget and Control Board. The move would give the governor responsibilities held by the Executive Branch in 49 other states. The bill unanimously passed the House last year and died in the Senate.
Transparency - The governor is supporting the S.C. Policy Council's call for more on-the-record voting, as currently only 5 percent of bills in the General Assembly receive passage with on-the-record votes. In addition, he's supporting their call for earmark disclosure, local government spending disclosure, a taxpayer funded lobbyist ban, public officials income disclosure, and expanded open records laws.
Ethics Laws - Gov. Sanford is supporting Rep. Nathan Ballentine's bill that would require disclosure of all campaign contributions within 48 hours of receiving them in the two weeks prior to the election. The governor is also calling for creating an objective campaign finance enforcement entity for the House and Senate, and closing the revolving door that allows government regulators to leave government and lobby on behalf of issues they used to work on.