The days are finally getting longer and we’re nearing the middle of the legislative session which, for the House, means this week was “Budget Week,” our weeklong debate on the $8.7 billion 2019-2020 budget. After going through the budget line by line and working past midnight, the House sent this year’s budget to the Senate. See below for more details on what is included in this year’s budget.
Another exciting moment for South Carolina happened this week when it was revealed the Carolina Panthers are working on a deal to move their NFL team’s headquarters and training facilities out of Charlotte and into South Carolina! This would be a huge economic win for our state that would drive hundreds of millions of dollars into our economy.
It is proving to be a big year for South Carolina’s economy with the Governor and lawmakers working together to create a balanced budget, reforming our antiquated tax system, and focusing on efforts to attract businesses into our state.
After months of working with Gov. McMaster, building consensus, and many hours of debate, the House passed our General Appropriation Bill for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. This year’s budget is focused on investing in education and workforce development by increasing teacher pay, providing tuition assistance, and funding for workforce training programs.
Not only does the budget not increase taxes, it actually provides tax relief in the form of a rebate for everyone who pays income tax. Many amendments were considered one of which was to add Gov. McMaster’s language to ensure taxpayers will not have to pay for abortion services at Planned Parenthood.
When we began assembling this budget, it was important to me that it be built on the foundation of protecting taxpayers, a renewed commitment to being resourceful and efficient, funding only core functions of state government, and providing value for every dollar we spend.
The budget will now go to the Senate for their consideration.
Highlights from the budget:
Nearly $160 million to provide every teacher a pay raise, helping to ensure that we recruit and retain the very best teachers. 30% of the budget surplus from last year will be devoted to raising teacher pay.
$20 million for new and improved textbooks and instructional for our schools.
$10 million to hire 120 more school-resource officers for schools that don’t already have one and cannot afford them.
$49.7 million to cover state employee health and dental insurance increases.
To find out more about the budget visit: https://www.schousegop.org/more
Federal Funding for the S.C. Ports Authority:
In his budget request to Congress, President Trump included $138 million to continue dredging Charleston Harbor! It’s great to have a President who understands the importance of the economic engine that the Ports represent to South Carolina. A former member of the South Carolina House, Mick Mulvaney, who now serves as the President’s Chief of Staff, deserves as shout-out as well for his work to ensure these funds were included in the President’s budget. Our state has already contributed $300 million for this dredging project, which will allow the largest container ships in the world to now utilize the Charleston Port.
Brushy Creek Baptist Honored at State House
I joined the Greenville House Delegation last Tuesday to present a resolution to Brushy Creek Baptist Church of Taylors, SC on the celebration of its 225th year. I was honored to present the resolution to the pastor. Congratulations to this great body of believers and all they do for the community.