Online expense posting could bring big savings
Caption: Sen. Hugh Leatherman announces his support of a Senate bill that would mandate posting all expenses of institutions of higher learning online. He was followed by Sen. Mike Rose. (Photo by Linda Ensor)
“If you don’t know what you’re spending, you have no clue how to save money,” was the message given by Sen. Mike Rose in Columbia on Jan. 12th as he discussed why he introduced and supports Senate Bill 172 to about 15 college presidents and financial officers.
The bill would require all South Carolina schools of higher learning to post their expenses and credit card debts online. Online posting is expected to reveal duplications in services and supplies which would otherwise go unnoticed.
Rose noted the state’s need for increased transparency and accountability regarding public funds, especially due to South Carolina’s current acute shortage of revenue. Implementation is expected to be fairly simple and inexpensive; Francis Marion University has already completed the project at almost no cost.
Vendor competition is also expected to create a large savings. Rose said that one Texas agency saved more than $80,000 through more effective bargaining on ink cartridge refills alone. The state pocketed $3.8 million in 2010 because of the transparency program.
Rose wrote the bill after spending time in Texas, meeting with various department heads to find money-saving ideas he could bring back home. At that time Texas Governor Rick Perry was being heralded for turning that state’s finances from red to black. Seeing the possibilities, Rose brought the online transparency idea to the Senate Education Committee.
Rose, Sen. Hugh Leatherman (Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee), Sen. John Courson (Chairman of the Senate Education Committee), and the Hon. Richard Eckstrom (Comptroller General) all supported the bill at the press conference. The bill was approved by the Senate Education Committee in March and will be brought before the Senate when it reconvenes.