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County Should Face Off With State on Unfunded Mandates
web posted April 11, 2011
A Column by the Editor
COLUMN – The Edgefield County Council will hold a
second work session on the budget tonight on a budget that has more red
numbers than black due to dwindling revenues. Thanks in large part to
the state cutting the Aid to Subdivisions (or Local Government Fund or
LGF) by an estimated 20 to 22% this year, reducing funding levels below
the statutory limits (laws are for other people, not the government) to
levels of the mid 1990's. If the state wants to cut funding, so be it.
The county should return the favor.
If the law requires a funding level and the state elected leaders want
to ignore that and cut funding further, then every state mandated
funding of other agencies by the county should be cut by the same
level, even if it exceeds their requirements by law.
If laws mean nothing to state legislators, why should it apply to local
Right off the top, the ABBE Library System should be cut 20%. Last year
they received $179,750 and requested $185,000 this year. Placing the
same funding cap imposed by the state, the county could save nearly
Piedmont Tech, who requested $115,585 this year and was given $43,000
last year - is automatically on the chopping block at a savings of
nearly $10,000 from last year's funding level.
I could go on down the line from the Department of Social Services,
Department of Health, and a myriad of other state mandates agencies
that should see the same funding reductions. Saving that would help the
county make it through these tough times, rather than keep state owned
and mandated agencies alive.
If they are so important, let the state pay for them and get out of the
pockets of the county citizens. And if the state's promised
funding to the county is cut back to levels of the 1990's, maybe the
county should follow suit and reduce budgets to the same levels.
If those agencies and NGO's want to cry, let them cry to the local
legislative delegation, not the county council.
Due to the economy, the county could not raise taxes if they had to in
order to cover the loss of revenues handed down by the state. But they
still want us to cover their costs of services "they" provide
regardless of the negative impact on the county taxpayer, who also pays
state taxes to fund the same services.
The state has cut the LGF by well over 40% in the past three years.
However, that same reduction has not been seen in state mandated
funding by the county to state agencies, and even some NGO's.
Our form of government works from the bottom up, not the top down. It
is time for Edgefield County, and other counties, to stand upon that
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