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Comptroller General's Office Prepares for State Tax Withholding Changes

S.C. Controller Richard Eckstrom's office, which processes payroll for state employees, is preparing to implement changes in state tax withholdings. In January, the S.C. Department of Revenue plans to begin phasing in a reduction in the amount of state taxes withheld from South Carolinians' paychecks. The decrease, to be phased in over 10 years, will put more money in workers' pockets week to week but lower their annual state tax refunds. The State (Oct. 24, 2016) More

 

Mushrooming Public Pension Debt Forming Fiscal Storm on State's Horizon

Sinking further into the red $1 billion per year, South Carolina's public pension system is a gathering fiscal storm on the state's horizon. State and local government workers retiring in the near term face minimal impacts from the ballooning debt, but taxpayers and future retirees could be significantly affected. The crisis, years in the making, is generating increasingly urgent attention. The Associated Press/Spartanburg Herald-Journal (Sept. 4, 2016) More

 

Eckstrom Votes to Approve Coastal Carolina Stadium Expansion, Lauding University as Sustainable and Thriving

Serving on South Carolina's key financial oversight board, the five-member State Fiscal Accountability Authority, S.C. Controller Richard Eckstrom cast a decisive vote to approve a stadium expansion at Coastal Carolina University. Eckstrom said Coastal has become a flourishing, sustainable institution and the project has long been one of its important goals. The State (Aug. 23, 2016) More

 

The Hill newspaper in Nation's Capital Seeks Eckstrom's View on Potential Economic Slowdown

Responding to a request from The Hill newspaper in Washington, D.C., to discuss a potential economic downturn, S.C. Controller Richard Eckstrom said a recent slowdown in state tax revenues could signal concern. "When you look at budget growth, I believe that most states are forecasting a slower rate of growth next year than they did this past year," Eckstrom told The Hill. "So there seems to be some consensus that things are beginning to tighten." The Hill (Aug. 18, 2016) More

 

Eckstrom Encourages More Saving, Greater Focus on Priority Spending as Expected 2016 Surplus Falls Short

An expected surplus came up more than $10 short when S.C. Controller Richard Eckstrom closed the state's books for the 2015-16 fiscal year that ended June 30. The shortfall prompted Eckstrom to encourage more saving and greater emphasis on priority spending in the state's finances, particularly with a potential economic downturn looming. The Associated Press/Rock Hill Herald (Aug. 17, 2016) More

 

CG Speaks Out for Cordial Working Relationships Among State Financial Oversight Board Members

In an effort to facilitate more positive working relationships among members of the State Fiscal Accountability Authority (SFAA), state Controller Richard Eckstrom encouraged the governor to refrain from opening meetings of the authority with a catchphrase that some observers believe has political undertones. Eckstrom, who serves on the SFAA along with the governor, offered the suggestion at a recent meeting of the authority. The State (June 25, 2016) More

 

Eckstrom Writes to Local Governments Thanking Them for Transparency Efforts

S.C. Controller Richard Eckstrom recently wrote to cities and counties in the state that have voluntarily posted their check registers online, thanking and congratulating the local governments for their financial transparency efforts. Beaufort County responded with a news release highlighting its spending data portal and the Comptroller General’s Office’s S.C. Fiscal Transparency Website. Hilton Head Island Packet (June 6, 2016) More

 

Eckstrom: Audit Report Shines Light on State's Huge but Neglected Pension Funding Shortage

S.C. Comptroller Richard Eckstrom says a recent Legislative Audit Council report puts a long-needed spotlight on the state's chronically underfunded pension system for state and local government retirees, a multibillion-dollar shortage for which taxpayers could end up on the hook. Charleston Post and Courier (Dec. 23, 2015) More

 

Taxpayer-Supported Universities Spent Most on Travel Among State Agencies - Again

Taxpayer-Supported universities continued to dominate the annual list of top spenders on travel among state agencies during a year when state-funded travel costs rose overall by $6.2 million. Clemson University and the University of South Carolina ranked first and second for the 11th straight year in travel costs, according to data compiled by the S.C. Comptroller General's Office. The State (Nov. 7, 2015) More

 

New Accounting Standards Require Governments to Disclose Tax Incentives Dollar Values

S.C. Controller Richard Eckstrom says new governmental accounting standards requiring states and localities to disclose the dollar values of their tax abatement programs are a good first step toward greater transparency in economic development subsidies and other tax incentives. Rock Hill Herald (Oct. 18, 2015) More

 

SC State University, Denmark Tech Financial Reports Late

S.C. State University and Denmark Technical College were two of three state agencies that failed to submit their annual audited financial statements for fiscal 2014-15 to S.C. Controller Richard Eckstrom's office by legal due dates the S.C. General Assembly established. Eckstrom said he is disclosing the names of agencies failing to turn in the documents on time in an effort to hold them accountable for meeting legislative mandates. The Times and Democrat (Oct. 15, 2015) More

 

Eckstrom Says $87 Million Surplus in Fiscal 2015 Good Economic Sign, but Cautions About Downturns

After closing the state's books for fiscal 2015, state Comptroller Richard Eckstrom said an $87 million surplus for the year indicates that South Carolina's economy is strong. And while the state has built its reserves to nearly $1.2 billion, Eckstrom cautioned that the state had to tap its reserves plus cut more than $1.3 billion to scrape through the Great Recession. The State (Aug. 21, 2015) More

 

Public Can See Which Companies Do the Most Business with SC State Government

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina did more than $1.3 billion in business with state government in one year's time. That's according to a new database for fiscal year 2014 created by the Comptroller General's Office. It shows which companies receive the most business from South Carolina state government. Bluffton Today (May 30, 2015) More

 

Columbia Business Monthly Magazine Publishes In-Depth Article on 2014 State Travel Report Produced by Eckstrom's Office

In a wide-ranging article on the 2014 State Travel Report his office produced, S.C. Comptroller Richard Eckstrom describes how the report is a valuable management and accountability tool. "Members of the public can read it and ask for explanations or direct questions to any agency on the report, including questions about annual fluctuations in travel spending," Eckstrom says in the write-up. Columbia Business Monthly (January 2015) More

 

State Ends Fiscal 2014 with Surplus Despite Indications Its Economic Growth is Slowing

Amid indications its economic growth is slowing but continuing, the state ended fiscal 2014 with enough surplus revenue to fund all wish-list spending in the 2014 budget, according to S.C. Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom's year-end closing report. The expenditures contingent upon a surplus included nearly $40 million to be split among local governments and technical colleges. The State (Aug. 20, 2014) More

 

Sunshine Week Highlights Eckstrom's Effort to Expand Local Government Transparency

Observed annually in March, Sunshine Week is a national initiative to promote open government and freedom of information. S.C. Comptroller Richard Eckstrom, who pioneered online spending transparency in the Palmetto State, continues to encourage and help local governments embrace the practice – not only during Sunshine Week but throughout the year. Columbia Business Monthly (March 1, 2014) More

 

Universities Top Travel Spenders Among State Agencies in SC

Clemson University spent the most money on travel in fiscal 2013 among all state agencies in South Carolina, with the University of South Carolina a close second, according to state Comptroller General Eckstrom's State Travel Report for that year. WYFF (Nov. 8, 2013) More

 

Former Columbia Mayor Lauds Eckstrom's Leadership During Last BRAC

In a tribute to the late Ike McLeese, who served as chief executive of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce for nearly 20 years, former Columbia Mayor Bob Coble lauds state Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom’s leadership during the nation's last round of military Base Realignment and Closure Commission proceedings. Serving as chairman of the SC Military Base Task Force throughout the 2005 BRAC, Eckstrom oversaw a process through which South Carolina gained military missions rather than losing any. The State (Oct. 30, 2013) More

 

Comptroller General's Office Implements Purchasing Card Recommendations

State Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom’s office has implemented all of the Legislative Audit Council’s recommendations to improve the state’s purchasing card program that can be implemented. In a follow-up report on the use of purchasing cards, the Audit Council, which acts as the General Assembly’s inspector general, reviewed whether 33 recommendations the agency had made in January 2011 have been put in place. Greenville News (Sept. 24, 2013) More

 

Fiscal 2013 Numbers Good but Long-Term Challenges Remain, Eckstrom Says in Closing State's Books for Year

The state finished fiscal 2013 with a more than $68 million surplus and its rainy day reserve fund increased to nearly $282 million, meeting a required level two years ahead of schedule, SC Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom announced in closing the state’s books for the year. Despite the positive operating numbers, however, Eckstrom cautioned that the state continues to face long-term funding challenges in its pension and health benefit plans for state retirees. The Associated Press (Sept. 1, 2013) More

 

Insurance Reserve Fund Transparency Generates Media Interest

South Carolina media outlets have produced several stories based on a state Insurance Reserve Fund report that Comptroller Eckstrom recently added to his SC Fiscal Transparency Website. The report provides information about claims filed with the Insurance Reserve Fund (IRF). In one of the news stories, Eckstrom notes the importance of the IRF. Bluffton Today (July 14, 2013) More

 

Eckstrom Votes Against College of Charleston Lease, Citing Lack of Bids

SC Comptroller Richard Eckstrom asked College of Charleston officials whether they sought competitive bids in proposing to spend more than $9 million to rent private, waterfront office space for temporary classrooms. When the officials said state law does not require bids for the lease, Eckstrom and two other state Budget and Control Board members rejected the proposal by voting against it. Charleston Post and Courier (June 28, 2013) More

 

While Supporting Patriots Point Project, Eckstrom is Concerned About Museum's Debt

SC Comptroller Richard Eckstrom is a member of the state Budget and Control Board, which approved a loan repayment extension for Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum at Charleston Harbor.  But Eckstrom, while lauding the work of the museum, said he is concerned about its debt amid ongoing, deep defense spending cuts known as "sequestration." South Carolina Radio Network (May 10, 2013) More

 

Eckstrom Raises Concerns About Solvency, Equity of State Retirement Plans

In an SC Budget and Control Board meeting, state Comptroller Richard Eckstrom expressed concern about the long-term solvency of state-run retirement funds for state and local public employees in South Carolina. Eckstrom also said disparities in the plans do not represent good public policy. The Associated Press (May 9, 2013) More

 

Moultrie News Editorializes for Local Government Spending Transparency

In an editorial, the Moultrie News strikes a supportive chord for local government spending transparency in South Carolina.  The weekly newspaper, which serves the greater East Cooper region, urges municipalities in its area to join the transparency movement that SC Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom launched in the state in 2008. Moultrie News (May 7, 2013) More

 

North Charleston Receives National Transparency Award

SC Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, who pioneered online government spending transparency in the Palmetto State, says North Charleston and other Sunny Award winners in South Carolina help set the right example for the rest of the state. Charleston Post and Courier (April 26, 2013) More

 

SC Military Base Task Force Distributes $200,000 for Base Preservation Efforts

State Comptroller Richard Eckstrom, who serves as chairman of the SC Military Base Task Force, visited the state's four military installation communties — Beaufort, Charelston, Columbia and Sumter — distributing $50,000 in state funding to each area to aid in its base preservation efforts. WACH Fox 57 (March 12, 2013) More

 

New York Governor Cites Eckstrom's Spending Transparency Website

In announcing the launch of a New York state data transparency website, the Empire State governor cited SC Comptroller Richard Eckstrom's Fiscal Transparency website, noting that it has reduced Freedom of Information Act requests.  That saves South Carolina taxpayers time and money. (March 11, 2013) More

 

Eckstrom Supports USC Dorms Project for Health, Safety Reasons

State Comptroller Richard Eckstrom has urged caution on new college building projects, but he voted for the renovation of three University of South Carolina dorms after visiting the facilities. The State (March 5, 2013) More

 

Reader Appreciates Comptroller General

In a letter to the editor, Dale Rhodes of Columbia lauds SC Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom’s public policy stances and service to the state as commander of the SC State Guard. Columbia Star (Feb. 15, 2013) More

 

Winthrop University Procurement Audit Concerns Eckstrom

As a member of the SC Budget and Control Board (BCB), which oversees procurement spending by state-supported colleges and universities, Comptroller Richard Eckstrom expressed concern about the findings of a review of Winthrop University procurements. Rock Hill Herald (Feb. 9, 2013) More

 

Eckstrom Opposes Speculative Public-Private Tourism Project

State Comptroller Richard Eckstrom voted against a speculative real estate deal that gets the state involved in a recreational tourism project on Lake Hartwell. Eckstrom is concerned about potential environmental and financial impacts of the project. The Nerve (Jan. 30, 2013) More

 

SC Military Bases Might Face Situation Akin to a 'Perfect Storm,' Eckstrom Warns

 

State Comptroller Richard Eckstrom warned that military installations in South Carolina could face circumstances similar to a perfect storm with federal budget pressures in Washington reaching new levels and the Pentagon possibly undertaking another round of national base closings. The Associated Press (Jan. 29, 2013) More

 

Sharing Increased Cost of State Health Insurance Right Thing to Do, Eckstom Says

 

With state health insurance costs continuing to take a bigger bite out of taxpayers’ wallets, SC Comptroller Richard Eckstrom says it’s only fair for state employees to share the higher costs. USA Today (Oct. 24, 2012) More