COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — After not passing a budget in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, South Carolina lawmakers are getting closer to passing one for the 2021-22 fiscal year.
Last week, the Senate Finance Committee okayed a budget plan. It will be debated on the Senate floor later this week.
The budget was crafted after the South Carolina Bureau of Economic Advisors said lawmakers would have an additional $1.7 billion to work with than originally anticipated.
Senator Thomas Alexander (R-District 1) said, “I think that speaks to the resilience of the citizens of the state of South Carolina. Being able to step up and do what was necessary and work in difficult situations.”
Sen. Alexander said this time last year, there was no way to know where South Carolina’s economy was going to be. He said he’s grateful to see the state doing well and believes the Senate Finance Committee put together a solid budget.
“When you look at the commitment to higher education, K-12 education, the soundness of the state, making sure the fiscal needs are being met, taking care of our state employees, it’s a solid budget that prepares us to be successful,” he said.
The Senate Finance Committee wants to set aside money for state employee raises, teacher raises and to make improvements at disadvantaged schools.
Director of Government Affairs for the Palmetto State Teachers Association Patrick Kelly said these investments and others like expanding full day Pre-K programs, school bus driver raises and other education related expenses will help students and teachers in the coming years.
He said, “By no means is this the budget the end point for efforts to improve educationally outcome and access in South Carolina but it certainly is a much brighter day than at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.”
To read the Senate Finance Committee’s budget proposal click or tap here.
The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to rewrite a budget plan with new revenue projections in the coming weeks. Lawmakers hope to finalize a budget by late May or early June.