Gov. McMaster says extra $1B in 2019 budget will go to state education, South Carolina’s prosperity

Gov. McMaster says extra $1B in 2019 budget will go to state education, South Carolina’s prosperity

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Governor Henry McMaster with the extra money - $1 billion - in the state’s proposed budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, education, tax relief and public safety are among some of the top priorities the state’s money will be focused on.

“Governor Henry McMaster today announced the FY 2019-20 Executive Budget – a fiscally responsible budget that invests heavily in K-12 education, returns $200 million of surplus funds back to the taxpayers who earned it, and proposes a path toward freezing tuition at South Carolina’s institutions of higher learning,” his office said in a news release.

Here are some highlights from the budget, per the governor’s office:

Tax Relief

The 2019-20 Executive Budget proposes tax relief for South Carolinians in the form of:

  • A  one-time, pro-rata tax rebate in the amount of $200,000,000;
  • An  immediate and full retirement income tax exemption for military veterans  and first responders, including retired state and federal law enforcement,  firefighters and peace officers, representing $20,742,570 in relief the  first year.

K-12 Education

The 2019-20 Executive Budget provides for the following:

  • A 5 percent across-the-board salary increase for South Carolina teachers, totaling  $154,561,655, bringing average teacher salary up to $53,185 – $355 above  the projected southeastern average for FY20;
  • $100,000,000  for the “Rural School District Economic Development Closing Fund” to  provide funding for infrastructure which may be utilized to bring jobs and  investment to the state’s poorest rural school districts;
  • $46,354,044  to put a School Resource Officer in every school in the state and  $2,200,000 to provide every school in the state with access to a mental  health counselor;
  • $35,953,978  toward tuition mitigation upon CHE’s certification that tuition and fees  have not been raised on in-state students at public universities;
  • $31,820,610  for a $10 base student cost increase;  
  • A  $15,404,235 increase for the S.C. Public Charter District to support six  new charter schools and 5,400 new students;
  • $5,000,000  for new bus leases;
  • $5,000,000  for instructional materials at public school districts;
  • $3,100,000  for computer science and coding education;
  • $737,448  for a First Steps Outcomes and Accountability Data System.

“South Carolina Education is a statewide problem," McMaster said. "It is a statewide opportunity. A statewide responsibility. As I mentioned at the inauguration, a weak system in one part of our state affects the whole state.”

Economic and Workforce Development

The 2019-20 Executive Budget provides for the following:

  • $63,185,000  towards workforce partnerships, scholarships and grants for students  interested in attending South Carolina technical schools;
  • $4,000,000  for LocateSC to help recruit prospective businesses to South Carolina;
  • $3,700,000  for Department of Commerce’s closing fund;
  • $2,000,000  to the Department of Agriculture for regional farmers markets and  $1,000,000 for agribusiness infrastructure grants;
  • $950,000  for the “Be Pro Be Proud” workforce initiative; 
  • $699,000  for workforce training at the Department of Corrections.

Public Safety

The 2019-20 Executive Budget provides for the following:

  • $40,000,000  to the Department of Corrections for increased detention services and  equipment upgrades;
  • $33,585,000  in salary increases for law enforcement and firefighting agencies; 
  • $9,729,383  in recurring dollars for the Criminal Justice Academy;
  • $6,037,806  for officer recruitment and retention at the Department of Corrections;
  • $2,293,564  for additional vice personnel at SLED to combat the opioid crisis; 
  • $2,200,000  to the Office of the Adjutant General for land acquisition at the McEntire  Joint National Guard Base;
  • $2,000,000  for the National Guard Tuition Repayment Program; 
  • $1,749,370  for SLED to operationalize the S.C. Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity  program.

Health

The 2019-20 Executive Budget provides for the following:

  • More  than $40 million for veterans nursing homes, including $37,065,450 for  three new facilities through the Department of Mental Health and  $3,940,000 to renovate the Campbell Veterans Nursing Home;
  • $3,000,000  through the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse  Services to fund improvements to the substance abuse provider system;
  • $1,550,000  for information technology at the Department of Mental Health; 
  • $1,214,200  for Clemson’s Health Innovation Program to educate communities on healthy  living;
  • $1,200,000  for the Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital abuse and neglect medical  response program.

Good Government and Ethics

The 2019-20 Executive Budget:

  • Provides  $5,000,000 to the State Election Commission for new voting machines; 
  • Requires  agencies to utilize consolidated administrative services through the  Department of Administration (DOA);
  • Establishes  a centralized real property and facilities management process for all  state government agencies;
  • Directs  DOA to establish and issue uniform written standards and guidelines for  data entry into the Statewide South Carolina Enterprise Information System  (SCEIS);
  • Allocates  additional funding for investigation and enforcement enhancement at the  State Ethics Commission by doubling the registration fee for lobbyists and  lobbyist principals from $100 to $200, and requires anyone paid to  influence decisions made by county, city or town councils to register as  lobbyists.

Environment and Energy

The 2019-20 Executive Budget provides for the following:

  • $8,000,000  for new cabins and $1,200,000 for road repairs on Hunting Island;
  • $5,000,000  to the Forestry Commission for enclosed tractors to fight fires; 
  • $3,000,000  for fish hatchery repairs and renovations.

Infrastructure

The 2019-20 Executive Budget provides for the following:

  • $40,312,517  for emergency preparedness, including:   
  • $31,312,517 in FEMA matching funds to respond to  Hurricane Florence;
  • $9,000,000 for the creation of a South Carolina  Emergency Operations and Emergency Management Assistance Compact Support  Fund;
  • $2,500,000  for state water planning at the South Carolina Department of Natural  Resources;
  • $713,564  for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources for statewide water  monitoring and evaluation;
  • $234,673  to facilitate partnerships with the South Carolina Department of Health  and Environmental Control (DHEC) to improve rural water and sewer  infrastructure.

This is one of a dozen steps in the process to create and finalize the state budget. The budget will then go to the House Ways and Means subcommittees to begin formal deliberations. The budget deadline is July 1.

To view the governor’s Executive Budget in its entirety, along with the governor’s cover letter and detailed explanations of the points below, visit his website here.

You can watch the full announcement here:

WATCH: Gov. McMaster to unveil executive budget for 2019-2020

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