Think tank's influence grows with Haley in office

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A little-known policy council has garnered immense influence with Gov. Nikki Haley - a fact made clear at a budget briefing a week before Haley took office.

The task force Haley appointed to tackle the state's financial problems is wrestling with ways to reshape the way government spends money. The South Carolina Policy Council and its allies shape what's happening at those meetings.

Haley trumpeted 1 of the council's top issues - transparency - during her rise to the governor's mansion. And now it's clear the council will have her ear and an important role to play the next four years.

The council's president sits on Haley's five-member budget panel, as does the council's former budget researcher and its director of external affairs.

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