South Carolina budget writers on Thursday turned to tax scofflaws to help patch the state's budget.
They've been a repeated target, but the twist this time? The crackdown would aim to collect from out-of-state tax cheats and help generate money to enforce the state's illegal immigrant laws and revive a mothballed Statehouse security system.
The Senate Finance Committee wrapped up work Thursday on a $5.8 billion spending plan. That includes more than $509 million in cash mostly from unneeded reserves, growing state surpluses, the tax crackdown and the state's increased cigarette tax.
The tax crackdown would give the state Department of Revenue $4 million to track down companies and individuals outside the state in an effort that "goes after the tax cheats - and that's what they are," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman said. "I don't think that we've touched those people yet," the Florence Republican said.
The agency has promised the campaign would collect $80 million in unpaid tax revenue. Officials with the department did not immediately respond to an interview request to talk about its chances to deliver the amount of money expected by budget writers.