$8.8 billion in federal funds coming into SC from American Rescue Plan
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Governor Henry McMaster calls the roughly $8.8 billion coming into South Carolina through the latest COVID-19 relief bill “transformative” and “enormous.”
Signed into law in March, the American Rescue Plan is a $2 trillion bill meant to help people to fight and recover from the pandemic.
“It is an awful lot of money and our job right now is to be sure that at least in South Carolina, we will not just spend it, but we will invest it for the future of our people to do so very wisely very transparently because this would give gives us a once in a lifetime,” McMaster said.
Tuesday the accelerateSC task force met for the first time in months to learn how the money can be spent and to begin to come up with recommendations for how the funds should be allocated.
Of the roughly $8.8 billion, about $2.5 billion will be going to state governments, $1.6 billion will go to local governments (counties, cities, and other municipalities), $2.2 billion will go to K-12 education, $523 million will go to higher education, and $245 million will go to transportation and infrastructure.
State lawmakers will decide how the $2.5 billion will be spent but will be given accelerateSC’s recommendations as a guide.
“We have an opportunity to jump ahead in the course if we have already set it. This gives us a huge advantage and opportunity to move forward,” McMaster said.
Local governments will also have a lot of flexibility as to how they want to spend the money with the law’s broad guidelines.
According to the law, funds can go to support the state’s response to COVID-19, broadband infrastructure, supporting key industries, and educational disparities. However, the money can’t be used to lower taxes or deposit cash into a state’s pension fund.
“Instead of spending the money, I am hoping we will all look at it in terms of investments in the future,” McMaster said.
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