By Robert Kittle
Some state agencies in South Carolina are not following a state budget proviso that was passed to give taxpayers a better idea of where their money is going. The proviso requires all state agencies that collect fees or fines to post on their websites how much they collect, why they collected it, and where they spent the money.
They're supposed to post that by September 1st.
But a check of state agencies' websites found that some are not following the law.
The state Department of Social Services, for example, did not have its fines and fees report posted on its website Wednesday. When contacted about it, spokesperson Marilyn Matheus said the information had been compiled but had not received final approval yet. Wednesday evening, she said the information was completed and would be posted on the website Thursday.
The Department of Consumer Affairs also did not have its fines and fees report posted on its website. Spokesperson Juliana Harris said the agency had an internal oversight in completing this year's report, but that it should be posted online Thursday or Friday.
The state Department of Transportation also did not have its information posted earlier Wednesday, but spokesman Pete Poore said Wednesday afternoon that it had been posted.
The proviso says its purpose is to "promote accountability and transparency." State agencies are collecting more than $8 billion in "other funds" in this year's budget. Since that money is not part of the regular state budget, these transparency reports are supposed to give taxpayers a better idea of where they're getting and spending money.
But the proviso does not include any way to check whether agencies are following it, and there's no enforcement mechanism or consequence if they don't.
You can see an example of a "fines and fees" report here, which is the Department of Corrections' report.