Gov. Sanford Praises House Budget Measure on Travel
GOVERNOR ASKS LEGISLATURE TO KEEP PROVISION IN BUDGET GOING FORWARD
Gov. Mark Sanford today praised the S.C. House Ways and Means committee for including a proposal that would tie travel and lodging spending to federal rates for state employees. First suggested by Gov. Sanford's Management, Accountability and Performance (MAP) Commission in 2003, similar recommendations have been included in each of Gov. Sanford's Executive Budgets. The House had also included a provision in its budget last year before being removed by the Senate. Gov. Sanford thanked the House for again including the provision, and asked the Senate to reconsider the idea this year, specifically for out-of-state travel.
"Whether it was abuses at the Department of Commerce under prior administrations or what was recently uncovered during last year's Legislative Audit Council report, it's clear that the state can do a better job with regard to travel spending," Gov. Sanford said. "The House has been consistent in pushing forward on this front, and I'd ask the Senate to adopt our and the House's proposal as a step toward keeping an eye on the taxpayers' bottom line."
Prior to this administration, the Department of Commerce paid over $750 per night for a hotel room in Milan, Italy, and a whopping $879 per night for a hotel room in Paris. A 2005 Legislative Audit Council report found more examples of questionable travel expenditures, such as a consultant staying three nights in Phoenix at $375 per night to attend a conference, a state employee spending double the federal rate for a room in Miami, and another state employee staying three nights in New York at $269 per night, while the federal lodging limit for Manhattan is $208 -- the highest rate for New York.
Gov. Sanford's most recent Executive Budget recommended a Central State Travel Office within the Comptroller General's Office to manage and monitor agency travel and would provide $726,365 in recurring general fund savings during FY 2006-07.