Gov't restructuring vote a good step
Thursday, January 23, 2014 12:00 AM
It might not be perfect, but the Palmetto State is making progress with the Legislature's latest effort to restructure state government.
On Tuesday, the Senate gave its blessing to a bill overhauling state government. The House gave the legislation unanimous approval while the Senate had only a few dissenters, passing the legislation 39-4.
The legislation represents the first major effort to restructure state government and put more power in the executive branch since Carroll Campbell was governor 20 years ago.
With the voting falling the way it did, it is obvious Democrats and Republicans alike were aligned with the restructuring, as were Gov. Nikki Haley and her likely Democratic opponent, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen. Both see the legislation, awaiting Haley's signature, as a substantial step in the right direction. And we have to agree.
We are sometimes slow and deliberate in the South, to a fault, but it took a decade to get to this point and it's not that bad a point to have reached.
While the Budget and Control Board was not obliterated as some wanted, its powerful five-member board remains composed of the governor, treasurer, comptroller and the chairmen of the House and Senate budget-writing committees, that power was shifted with the creation of a new Cabinet-level Department of Administration.
In essence, and as it should be, the governor's office will be responsible for the bulk of bureaucratic functions of state government while the state Budget and Control board retains oversight of purchasing.
Again, this change in the state government's overall structure is not perfect, but it is a compromise that is both solid and meaningful.
Following the Senate's vote Tuesday, Edgefield Republican state Sen. Shane Massey praised the legislation.
"It's important to understand the Budget and Control Board, as we know it today, will not exist," Massey said. "The board that has influence over day-to-day functions of state government won't exist. They'll have some of the same duties, but the responsibilities are extremely diminished."
This is a good step taken by our lawmakers, and a good demonstration of their ability to work together toward a common good for the state.