The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

With Friends Like These…

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Legislators in South Carolina will tell you they are a “Friend of the Taxpayer” because there has been no general tax increase in more than two decades. A general tax increase would be too obvious, and too politically unpopular. What’s happening is that the General Assembly and state agencies squeeze money out of taxpayers through fees, assessments and fines.

How much do these fees and fines amount to?  How about $7 billion—fully a third of the state’s annual budget. If you’ve been keeping an eye on the state budget, like we do, you heard about a series of cuts to the General Fund during the past year. Yet during the same period, the fees and fines category of the budget actually increased by $147 million.

Fees and Fines Facts:

  • In 2009, the General Assembly introduced 108 proposals to raise fines and fees – 96 as standalone bills and 12 as budget provisos.
  • State agencies are able to increase their own fines and fees without specific legislative authorization.
  • The General Assembly essentially exercises “no oversight” over agency fine and fee revenue.

A new report, “Fine and Fee Increases: You’re Next” from the Policy Council lists who is likely to be affected by proposed fine and fee increases. OK, there’s a hint in the title.

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Written by Robert Appel

February 12, 2010 at 9:46 am

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