The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

How Big Is Big Government in Your County?

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As part of its ongoing commitment to help small, independent businesses in South Carolina, the Policy Council is examining the impact of big government, state and local tax burdens, the regulatory environment and other policy issues in counties statewide.

Recent reports include:

Federal Spending in South Carolina: How Does Your County Rank?

County Tax Burdens on Local Business: Where Does Your County Rank?

Even in Recession Local Governments Keep Growing

City of Aiken:  Local Businesses Paying the Price for High Government Spending

Oconee County: Economic Development Spending Hurts South Carolina’s Economy

We are now examining government spending—from all sources—in S.C. counties in a new report.

When times are tough, the government dole seems attractive—but economically it’s a deal with the devil. Higher government expenditures must be financed through higher taxes today or more borrowing that will result in higher taxes tomorrow. Moreover, government spending crowds out private sector spending, diminishing the private economy’s rate of growth.

Total government spending in 2008 varied from a high of $4,156 in Jasper County to a low of $1,854 in Saluda County. Between 2002 and 2008 the counties with the highest growth in government spending were Newberry, Jasper, Calhoun and Greenwood.  Saluda, Bamberg, Berkeley, Greenville, Spartanburg, Abbeville and Chesterfield saw per capita government spending decline over the same period.

Many factors drive government spending in counties, but it’s clear that population alone doesn’t explain changes in per capita spending.

Percent change in population and per capita government spending

  Copyright SC Policy Council



Written by Robert Appel

July 14, 2010 at 10:20 am

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