Tag: S.C. Budget and Control Board

Public Corruption and Southern Holdings

Public corruption is a hot topic today with politicians making illegal deals and other powerful interests using their influence to evade the law.

Too often the courts are also included in the process providing the final piece to the public corruption puzzle.

When this happens, the entire fabric of American society is torn and it’s difficult to see how it can be fixed.

Such is the story of the case of Southern Holdings et al v. Horry County et al.

In the Spring of the year 2000, Southern Holdings was a nice little corporation valued at $20 million, by independent analysts, doing business in South Carolina, North Carolina and Las Vegas, Nevada. It was owned by 75 shareholders, some of whom were residents of Horry County, with varying stock positions.

The corporation had recently gained the rights to contracts to be the exclusive marketer of cigarettes in areas of South America along with the rights to an offshore bank license and other contracts. The total value of these contracts and rights was $12-$15 million, according to corporate records.

After Southern Holdings gained the rights to these contracts, former Southern Holdings shareholder Ancil B. Garvin, III, a resident of Horry County at the time, attempted to get Southern Holdings President James Spencer to cut the remaining shareholders out of the profits.

What Spencer didn’t know then was that Garvin was selling cigarettes in the black market as well as with legitimate outlets.

In an e-mail from Garvin to Spencer in early May 2000, Garvin urged Spencer to agree to buy out the other stockholders. Garvin suggested he and Spencer could then “take the remaining $10 million of assets and retire.” Spencer refused.

Bureaucracy to prevail at expense of the taxpayer

S.C. Education Lottery Expenditures

A story making its way around the state is that S.C. Education Lottery scholarships are costing taxpayers money from the state’s general fund budget.

This is one way of looking at expenditures on the LIFE and Palmetto Fellows scholarships, but it’s too simplistic.

The LIFE scholarship pays up to $5,000 per year to qualifying students statewide while the Palmetto Scholars scholarship pays $6,700 for the freshman year and $7,500 for the sophomore through senior years of college matriculation to qualifying students.

State Agrees to Addition at State Farmers Market

Another perfect example of your taxpayer dollars at work occurred Wednesday when the state Joint Bond Review Committee approved purchase of 9.83 additional acres at the state farmers market in Lexington County.

The purchase needs final approval from the state Budget and Control Board.

The farmers market purchase has been an issue for two years. Initially the expansion of the farmers market was projected to be as high as $16.3 million. In 2012, Rep. Ralph Norman, a developer from York County, challenged the assessment and conclusions that went with that price.

S.C. Budget and Control Board

S.C. Budget and Control Board Ignored Law?

A USC chemistry professor has sued some of the state’s most powerful politicians, asking the courts to put to rest a lingering question in state government: Who is in charge?

Thomas A. Bryson, director of graduate studies for USC’s chemistry and biochemistry department, filed a class-action lawsuit in Richland County on behalf of all state employees, challenging the State Budget and Control Board’s 3-2 decision last week to make state workers pay more for their health insurance, starting next year.

The budget board’s move, proposed by Gov. Nikki Haley and praised by some taxpayer groups, would save the state $5.8 million but cost the average state worker or retiree an extra $7.24 a month.

Nikki Haley Ethics Case Won’t Make Difference

B&CB Splits Health Insurance Increases

Two months after the S.C. General Assembly put the entire increase in health insurance premiums for state and local government workers on the backs of South Carolina taxpayers, the S.C. Budget and Control Board voted 3-2 to split the increase between government employees and taxpayers.

Gov. Nikki Haley, Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom and Treasurer Curtis Loftis voted in favor of the split. The B&CB’s two lawmakers, Sen. Hugh Leatherman and Rep. Brian White, voted against it.

The vote of the B&CB will have the effect of increasing government employee premiums approximately $7.25 per month while saving taxpayers approximately $5.8 million.