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Setzler Introduces Legislation to Hold Quasi-State Agencies Accountable for Spending

Columbia, SC - State Senator Nikki Setzler (D-Lexington) introduced legislation today that aims to hold quasi-state agencies accountable for their operations and spending. If passed, organizations such as the South Carolina Public Railways, the South Carolina Public Service Authority, the South Carolina Research Authority, the South Carolina State Ports Authority, and the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank would all be held to more fiscal accountability. Under this legislation, the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee would review each quasi-state agency no less than once every two years, and publish a report on their findings to the Oversight Committees based on information provided to them by the agencies. During this process, each agency would be required to submit to the committees annual audited financial statements; projected and actual annual revenue; actual annual expenditures; any debt issuances in the previous five years, whether short-term or long-term; percent of annual revenues utilized for administration; an organizational flow chart displaying the position titles and name of executive-level employees, major components of any long-term capital plan, including timing and cost estimates, and financing plan for such capital investments whether paid from operations or debt; performance objectives and results; performance measurements used to evaluate program effectiveness; any outstanding litigation issues; and planning documents and progress reports, including budgeted and actual expenditures. The legislation puts accountability in when a quasi-state agency might issue bonds, and provides for legislative oversight into that process. Additionally it provides accountability for real estate transactions, and requires an annual report from the State Fiscal Accountability Authority related to each of these agencies' debt. It also includes provisions to make the agencies generally more transparent, and bound to standards of accountability that apply to most regular state agencies. "When the state creates a quasi-state agency and gives some of them the ability to issue bonds, it owes a responsibility to tax payers to provide fiscal accountability" said Setzler. "I’m looking forward to gaining support from my colleagues who are equally concerned with fiscal responsibility here in South Carolina”.

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