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Sanford Report: S.C. Budget & Control Board Could Save $500 Million July 12, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
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“GEAR” REPORT OFFERS DOZENS OF SAVINGS IDEAS FOR TROUBLED AGENCY

FITSNews – July 12, 2007 – There are days when we literally can’t stand S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford … but then there are days like today when we are reminded of the tremendous potential he has to effect meaningful change and achieve real results on behalf of the taxpayers.

The Sanford-created GEAR (Government Efficiency and Accountability Review) Committee today presented its 97-page report on the S.C. Budget & Control Board – a sweeping indictment of the agency’s waste, mismanagement and inefficiency as well as a comprehensive blueprint for bringing common-sense reform to its troubled operations. All told, the report offered 61 recommendations designed to save the taxpayers $497 million over the next three years and free up another $146 million to address what it terms “staggering” unfunded liabilities related to state employees.

“In total,” the report says, “we estimate that the implementation of our suggestions would free up over $640 million in the next few years to use for other budgetary needs or return to the taxpayers of this state.”

Chaired by former Sanford Deputy Chief of Staff Chad Walldorf, the GEAR report hits the Budget & Control Board on literally all aspects of its operations – the state vehicle fleet, property management, procurement procedures, information technology and human resources management. The report also takes aim at the Board’s mismanagement of the State Health Plan and Retirement System, recommending coordinated structural reforms to each entity aimed at reducing present unfunded liabilities estimated by the report to total $27 billion.

“If we keep our current system as is the state will have to dedicate approximately $800 million of new funds annually just to keep pace with our unfunded health care and COLA needs,” the report concludes. “And that number will continue to rapidly grow unless we make changes sooner rather than later.”

Sadly, many of the reforms included in the report will require legislative approval – something that hasn’t exactly been this governor’s strong suit. Given that, and the fact the State Legislature could only find $81 million in legitimate tax relief out of $1.7 billion budget surplus this year, the prospect of putting any of the $500 million in savings recommended by the GEAR report into the pockets of taxpayers is an iffy proposition at best. Additionally, further reforms to the Board could also be severely compromised in the event an anti-reformer like State Rep. Converse Chellis becomes State Treasurer, which would basically give the status quo forces on the Board a 3-2 majority.

Therein lies the fundamental problems with reports like this one in a state like South Carolina – the reforms they advance make too much sense.

Having said all that, the GEAR report is as on the money as it is long-overdue. Sanford deserves credit for asking for it, and Walldorf and his team deserve credit for putting forth some solid, common sense recommendations.

UPDATE – Click HERE to read the report in its entirety.

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Comments»

1. Don Johnson - July 12, 2007

You mean the B&CB is mismanaged and bureaucratic? NO. Say it ain’t so!

2. Top Posts « WordPress.com - July 12, 2007

[…] Sanford Report: S.C. Budget & Control Board Could Save $500 Million [image] “GEAR” REPORT OFFERS DOZENS OF SAVINGS IDEAS FOR TROUBLED AGENCY FITSNews – July 12, 2007 – There […] […]

3. Pandy - July 12, 2007

Show me the results, and I will believe it.

Mark Sanford promises things, and they never appear. Remember low taxes, efficient government, working with the general assembly, etc. Sanford is out harping about “big box tax cuts”…in July when the session does not begin in earnest till Feb.He talks about spending his campaign money against the RINO’s…and spends a whopping $22,000. uuuuu, ain that something!

Nothing Mark Sanford says ever pans out. This wont either.Sadly, I voted for him twice.

4. SBCB - July 12, 2007

Blood on the floor at the Budget and Control Board
The debate about the status of the SC Budget and Control Board is heating up. Longtime employees are retiring or finding other jobs. Other employees, including good employees with solid records, are looking for a way out. Each and every day, employees of the South Carolina Budget and Control Board are stressed out wondering what their futures are.
I realize some think that the Budget and Control Board should be eliminated. I agree with that premise to some degree. But, there is a situation developing in which good people are trying to find a way out of state government service.
Longtime employees are frustrated and confused. They wonder if their years of service mean anything. Those who can are jumping out of state government service. Governor Sanford seems to be oblivious to what is happening, though the rank and file members of the State Budget and Control Board seem to blame the Governor for the situation.
One employee of the State Budget and Control Board confided to me recently that it was his belief that the Governor wanted people to quit or retire so the Governor could appoint his own friends to the jobs that would hand out big state contracts.
I do not know if that is true, but I do know that perhaps the agency in the state government with the most power is being demoralized and demeaned, for whatever reason.
As I said before in this space, I would like to see the Budget and Control Board eliminated, and replaced with another administrative agency under the Governor. However, if any Governor is seeking to reform that board in a way that can only reward his friends that is wrong.
Currently, the State Budget and Control Board is governed by Governor Mark Sanford, Treasurer Thomas Ravenel, Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, Representative Dan Cooper and Senator Hugh Leatherman. Political rumors are flying that Cooper is about to retire and that Leatherman has a tough re-election battle ahead in 2008. That leaves the former three, who seem to be in lock step when it comes to Budget and Control Board issues. As one politico put it to me recently, “Thomas Ravenel calls Mark Sanford to make sure which way he (Ravenel) should vote in Budget and Control Board meetings..”
Again, I have not problem with reform. But, if one set of good old boys and gals is replacing another at the perhaps the state’s most important agency for another, in the name of so called reform, than something is wrong. Sure, there are plenty of employees at the state Budget and Control Board who ought to be shown he door for not working and the like. But, to replace them with just more political hacks does a disservice to the people who actually work at the Budget and Control Board and to the people of this state. South Carolina deserves better. The people of South Carolina, and the employees of the Budget and Control Board who work hard everyday do not deserve such treatment

5. looks good - July 13, 2007

There is only one rule you have to know about Mark Sanford in order to understand him.
“Everything he does is designed to make HIM look good…and he can care less about the people of SC”.
Whether it is his budget vetoes or executive decisions or failure to fill state vacancies or any action you care to name…they all make him look good to the masses while proving to be completely ineffectual as policy.
But by any standard he is a miserable failure. That the press gives him a pass is a demonstration of his personal charm (as used on the editors)…and a true disgrace to the state of the modern media.

6. duffy - July 13, 2007

How about using software that actually generates an indexable PDF? This reports was written (most likely with MS Word), printed, and then scanned into 97 page image. Can’t search it and slow to print.


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