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      Where do user fees go?

      State Representative Brian White, (R) Anderson

      COLUMBIA (WACH) - DHEC, DNR, the DMV and dozens of other agencies run almost entirely on the fees you pay. It's a category in the state budget called "Other Funds".

      Three years ago the state budget's "general fund" and "other funds" categories were each about $7 billion. This year the "general fund" is down to about $5 billion while "other funds" has grown to nearly $8 billion.The budget numbers show that while lawmakers are making cuts to the highly visible general fund, many state agencies are increasing the fees they charge citizens---in other words, the "other funds" category.

      So why is this "other funds" category important? And how are these funds spent?

      Anderson Representative Brian White chairs the House Other Funds Oversight Committee, who along with its counterpart in the state Senate, oversee these funds and make sure the funds are spent properly.

      White says an example would be the fees from fishing licenses.

      "It's gone to support law enforcement and the hunting and fishing in this state. I think the last increase in hunting and fishing fees in this state was in 2002."

      Any increase in user fees must be approved by the General Assembly. White's committee briefs lawmakers on how these funds are collected and spent.

      "You've got DHEC in the permitting process, you've got LLR for licensing real estate agencies and pharmacy folks. There are a lot of other funds that flow through state government, we just want to be able to show folks what they're used for and show them where things go."

      Do you think the money you pay in user fees is being spent wisely? Please leave a comment below.