Since 1992, S.C. taxpayers have spent $48.1 million to build an automated child-support enforcement and Family Court case-management system. All they have to show for it is two lawsuits and $115 million in federal fines.
Two decades later, the system is still not finished. Yet the federal penalties — which steadily have increased — are continuing to mount for South Carolina, the only state in the country that has not complied with a federal mandate that Congress first passed in 1988.
In July, the Department of Social Services fired technology-giant Hewlett Packard — the company the federal government just hired to rescue HealthCare.gov — and told lawmakers it planned to build the automated system itself.
The state has sued HP, asking for more than $200 million in damages to offset future federal penalties. HP has fought back, saying the state owes it $39 million.
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The two sides are battling in a hearing before a state procurement officer that began Nov. 20 and is expected to last into January.