s the 2003 legislative session
begins, the General Assembly and the new executive
administration face a number of daunting questions.
Education, health care, the environment, government
restructuring, economic development, the state's infrastructure,
and the environment are among a host of issues that
will be addressed in the state in the coming months.
And overriding all these issues is the state's projected
budget shortfall that shapes invariably the context
within which these other issues are debated and must
be dealt with if meaningful progress is to be made.
It is appropriate and timely, therefore, that the significance
of the budget issue in the state's political discussion
be reflected in the articles in this issue of Public
Policy & Practice.
In an excerpt
from her newly published work, Funding Government in
South Carolina, Dr. Holley Ulbrich provides an overview
of the role that fees and charges play as sources of
revenue for state and local government. She notes that
over the past decade governments in South Carolina have
increasingly relied on fees and charges as revenue sources
and cautions that the state may have gone beyond the
optimal level of use of such charges.
Mike Shealy's article on the South Carolina Joint Committee
on Taxation describes the structure of this important
committee as well as it duties. As he notes, among the
charges of this committee is to recommend changes to
the state's tax structure that results in a stable,
equitable and fair tax system that is more easily understandable.
In sum, the "systems perspective" on the state's
tax structure that this committee provides should prove
valuable in addressing the revenue side of the budget
by Dr. Jo Anne Anderson and her colleagues addresses
funding for a specific – but very large and important
– area, public education. As the state has striven
to improve performance in the kindergarten through twelfth
grade system, corresponding changes have not been made
in the amount and distribution of resources available
to this system. The authors' discussion of the major
challenges facing this system underscores the magnitude
of the task that confronts the state in providing adequate
and equitably distributed resources for public education.
Richard Young's piece on performance based budget systems
outlines the elements of several approaches to budgeting.
In this era of deficits, a budgeting approach based
on performance provides a vehicle for policy-makers
to use in deciding how to allocate scare public funds.
Such an approach may prove valuable to both the state
and local governments as they attempt to deal with the
current budget situation.
is obvious that the current budget crisis did not develop
overnight, nor will it be solved quickly. But we believe
that the articles in this issue provide a basis for
addressing some of the major aspects of this problem
and will inform our readers as to ideas and processes
that, in our estimation, may be of benefit.
always, we welcome your comments and suggestions on
the contents of the journal. Please e-mail any comments
Richard D. Young, Editor in Chief Public Policy & Practice
Institute for Public Service and
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208
Phone: (803) 777-0453
Fax: (803) 777-4575