South Carolina to get new, lower budget prediction

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The board that predicts how much money South Carolina will take in from taxes and fees to help set the budget is meeting Thursday.

The Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Board postponed March’s meeting for three weeks after the coronavirus caused a massive economic downturn and some 100,000 people to report they lost their jobs in two weeks.

Earlier estimates before the spread of COVID-19 had South Carolina’s booming economy leading to an extra $1.8 billion to spend next year.

The House passed a budget based on those figures that gave a $3,000 raise to every teacher, $100 million in security upgrades to prisons, $100 million in improvements to rural highways and $248 million in tax relief and credits.

Economists agree there won’t be that much money to spend in the budget that begins July 1 and a surplus in this year’s budget may also be in danger between the economy turning upside down and the coronavirus response.

Experts have even more of a challenge because they are used to modeling on financial crisis or natural disaster, said Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office Executive Director Frank Rainwater

“It might be a little bit like a hurricane and a little bit like 9/11,” Rainwater said last month.

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