Fortunately, the DOA bill wasn’t (DOA, that is)

One morning last month, I ran into Nikki Setzler at the Cap City Club, and asked him what was happening over in the Senate that day.

One of the things he mentioned in answering me was that they’d be working on “DOA.” I asked what that was, since to me that meant “Dead on Arrival.” He said it was the Department of Administration bill, which would replace the Budget and Control Board with an actual executive agency answering to the governor.

As acronyms go, that one was appropriate, since the proposal has indeed been DOA in the Senate, year after year.

But now, only five years after Vincent Sheheen introduced the proposal in the Senate, and a full 21 years after we started pushing hard to get rid of the B&CB at The State, senators have sent a bill to the House. This is from a release from the Senate GOP caucus:

On Thursday, the Department of Administration bill was passed. The bill will eliminate the powerful state Budget and Control Board and create a Department of Administration answering directly to the governor. The bill will also create a State Fiscal Accountability Authority made up of the Governor, Comptroller General, Treasurer, Ways and Means Chairman, and Senate Finance Chairman. Deficit Recognition will now be handled by the General Assembly, when in session, and a new Legislative Services Agency will now be responsible for all fiscal and revenue impact statements. In addition, the bill will create a Rural Infrastructure Authority, which will assist rural counties and local governments to improve their infrastructure to help attract economic development. Senate Republican Majority Whip Shane Massey, who led GOP efforts on the Senate version of the bill, is urging the House to take it up and pass it as soon as possible…

I’m not sure I like the sound of all of that, but it sounds to me like a step in the right direction. And such steps are rare in the SC Senate.

9 thoughts on “Fortunately, the DOA bill wasn’t (DOA, that is)

  1. Doug Ross

    Shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.

    So we subtract one government agency (Budget Control Board) and add three new agencies?

    State Fiscal Accountability Authority
    Legislative Services Agency
    Rural Infrastructure Authority

    Should have called it the “Find My Friends and Relatives No Show Jobs” bill.

    Reply
  2. die deutsche Flußgabelung

    This whole argument over whether the B&CB should be replaced with a DoA seems to be nothing but inside baseball. The average voter could care less who gets to control which car in the state fleet the agricultural commissioner can drive, and whether or not DHEC can use color ink in their office printers. Is this so called “reform” going to create more jobs in the state (probably not if anything it sounds like it will more likely destroy a few state govt jobs), and it probably won’t save the state a dime because whatever down-the-scale bureaucrats that are laid off will be replaced by an even more expensive administrative position for some person from out of state.

    Oh but how the libertarians over at the SC Policy Council howl: “The Governor must be in charge of everything. We need accountability and centralization. Separation of powers as the Founding Fathers intended.” Funny how the people, in this state, calling for a more centralized executive call themselves libertarians (I thought libertarians believed in both economic AND political decentralization). And clearly they have never read the 1790 state constitution because the Founding Fathers of this state definitely did not believe in the separation of powers.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      No, the governor doesn’t need to be “in charge of everything.” Just the executive branch.

      This is simple, obvious and fundamental, and not just a fine point of inside baseball. In the B&CB, we have an agency with broad executive power that is 40 percent controlled by legislators. To the extent that anyone can be said to “control” the agency.

      An agency that has five bosses, all of them elected separately from differing constituencies, doesn’t really have a boss at all, as far as the public is concerned — no one you can really hold accountable.

      That’s a situation that has to be addressed.

      Reply
      1. die deutsche Flußgabelung

        I am a supporter of parliamentary democracy so the idea of the legislature overseeing the executive isn’t unnatural from my point of view. It actually creates more accountability and less finger pointing (see the current debacle over the sequester in Washington).

        And you’re wrong when you describe the Board as “an agency that has five bosses, all of them elected separately from differing constituencies.” Last time I checked a majority of Board (the governor, state treasure, and comptroller general) are all elected by the same constituency; they’re statewide elected offices.

        Reply
  3. Doug Ross

    So if this bill passes, will we have enough time to evaluate its impact before Vincent Sheheen claims credit for it?

    Reply
    1. die deutsche Flußgabelung

      Shouldn’t Sheheen get the credit/blame no matter how good the bill really seeing has his name is on the bill as a sponsor? It was pretty smart on his part because every time Haley brings up this bill during in her reelection campaign Sheheen can just look over at her and say “Your Welcome.” She may play the victim well and can deliver a snappy talking point on TV, but she sucks at getting major pieces of public policy passed.

      Reply
  4. bud

    So we subtract one government agency (Budget Control Board) and add three new agencies?
    -Doug

    There is precident for that. The old SCDHPT became SCDOT, SCDMV and SCDPS. And all the citizens of the state suffered while The State newspaper turned it’s back on it’s responsibility to properly report what was going on. And now history repeats itself. Since The State is once again pushing this idiotic idea on the false hope that somehow “accountability” will somehow make the world a better place will we ever hear about any problems with the new agencies? No, because The State is invested in it’s success whether or not there is any ACTUAL improvement. The good news today is that unlike 1993 we have more options for gathering information and don’t have to rely on the sorry State newspaper.

    Reply
  5. Brad Warthen Post author

    Actually, Bud, you just THINK you have more sources of reliable information. You don’t. You have less than you did have, because The State and TV stations and radio all employ fewer people than they did to gather and analyze news.

    Note I said “less,” not “fewer.” You have more points from which to obtain the news that’s available. But there’s less meaningful news circulating. There’s a lot of regurgitation by multiple sources.

    This is on the state and local level. On the national level, you actually do have more news outlets than ever, and probably more stuff flowing through those many avenues. Not that you needed that. We always had all the sources we needed for national news. Where we’re hurting is on the state level down.

    (Also, in this country, there’s a serious lack of international news, but fortunately, the Web makes it easy for us to follow the British publications, which bring us the world.)

    Reply

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