Dr. Matthew Ladner

Is South Carolina “Financial Ready”?

April 24, 2015

Dr. Matthew Ladner

South Carolina – like most states – receives a lot of funding from the federal government. But how much exactly? And with Washington on an unsustainable course, what if there were a significant cut in this funding? Would South Carolina still be “able to keep the lights on” and fund essential services?

This week, thanks to Representative Alan Clemmons picking up some PPI research, South Carolina is one step closer to being able to answer those questions.

On Wednesday, by a vote of 17-5, our House Ways and Means Committee passed H. 3027 – the “Financial Ready” bill  –  which would require state agencies to report how much federal funding they receive, and a plan detailing how operations would be impacted by a cut.  Modeled on legislation successfully passed in other states, good planning like this policy promotes just makes common sense. Whether you’re a family, business or state, you have to plan for contingencies.  We commend Representative Clemmons and his colleagues for understanding how important it is for South Carolina to be prepared, especially in light of this week’s Pew poll that revealed only 23% of Americans trust the federal government’s spending decisions. There are a number of reasons we think this bill makes good common sense; here are just a few.

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See federal funds and strings

We know where our state taxes go, but nobody knows where all the federal dollars go that come into our state, their true costs, or all of the strings that are attached to them.

Those federal dollars are not “free;” they come with current and future commitments.

•The bill will require and agency-by-agency inventory, including K-12 and Higher Ed, of all federal funds coming into the state and the strings attached to them.

Measure the impact of the coming spending crisis

Today, we simply don’t know the impacts of future federal funding cuts.

We do know that Washington will not cut funds with our state in mind; across the board cuts will hurt everyone.

Our bill will provide a risk assessment so that state and local officials can see those impacts and make smart decisions in the event of federal spending cuts.

The Fiscal Ready Bill is a good next step for South Carolina as we seek to protect our future.

PPT-South Carolina Voters Feb 2015 (1)-page-009