Gov. McMaster delivers State of the State speech

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Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 1:05 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2022 at 11:33 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS/AP) - Gov. Henry McMaster will deliver his annual State of the State speech in the South Carolina House chamber Wednesday at 7 p.m.

He will speak to both senators and representatives to list priorities for the new year and encourage state lawmakers to adopt similar priorities.

The governor’s speech will likely hit familiar themes made in his budget request to lawmakers earlier this month and public appearances last year.

“The $2.4 billion in ARPA funds along with the almost $3 billion in surplus revenue generated by South Carolina’s booming economy presents us with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, an opportunity that we cannot afford to squander,” McMaster wrote in a letter to the General Assembly. “If we take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, by making big, bold, and transformative investments in the areas of education, infrastructure, workforce, and economic development, South Carolina will prosper for generations to come.”

Those items include cutting the state’s top income tax bracket from 7% to 6% over five years, changing the formula the state uses to fund public schools, and spending $500 million to repair and upgrade local water and sewer systems.

“With the additional $500 million added to South Carolina’s rainy-day reserve fund, the state will now have 10% of the state’s general fund budget put away in reserves,” McMaster’s spokesman Brandon Charochak said.

Much of the extra money in this year’s budget comes from federal COVID-19 relief money.

McMaster will also likely mention achievements he is proud of from last year including a new law that bans most abortions in the state which have been suspended as the courts review its constitutionality and a law allowing veterans or their dependents who use GI Bill education benefits to be charged in-state tuition.

“I applaud Governor McMaster for the vision he laid out tonight in his State of the State address. The House of Representatives joins him in acknowledging our current challenges while celebrating our state’s hard-won successes. I appreciate the Governor’s prioritization of issues such as protecting our elections, cutting income taxes, and reforming education funding to provide more opportunity to all of South Carolina’s children. The House looks forward to working with Governor McMaster to achieve our shared goals and pursue a commitment towards building a better South Carolina,” House Speaker Jay Lucas said.

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