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Exclusive: Palmetto Lawmakers Getting A Billion Dollars In New Money




Supporters of a gasoline tax hike in South Carolina have a problem …

Check that: They’ve got a billion problems.

According to ranking members of both the S.C. House of Representatives and the State Senate, the Palmetto State’s budget – already bursting at the seams with new money – is projected to balloon by roughly one billion dollars in the coming fiscal year.

Oh, and a huge chunk of this new money – up to $350 million of it, we’re told – is recurring funding, meaning it’s money that is projected to continue flowing into government coffers on an annual basis.

Now … does this sound like the time to raise taxes?  Hell no.

In fact it sounds to us like the time to cut them …

While the state’s mainstream media may never level with you regarding the true size of the spending plan – there’s little concealing the estimates released by the S.C. Board of Economic Advisors (BEA).

Which are scheduled to come out later this week …

Assuming the projections are accurate, we’re looking at a potential 15 percent increase in general fund revenues.  And remember – the general fund is just one of three pots of money that comprise the state spending plan.  Last year the general fund totaled approximately $7 billion – to which lawmakers added $8.3 billion in federal funds (i.e. “manna from heaven”) and $9.4 billion in “other funds” (i.e. monies generated from hundreds of different fees and fines assessed on the people of South Carolina).

And let’s not forget the $1.5 billion that goes toward food stamps (money taken off the books by lawmakers last year).

Add it all up at the current budget – which runs from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016 – was roughly $26 billion.  These projections would indicate the FY 2016-17 budget will top $27 billion – another billion-dollar increase.

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: State government has more than enough money to address infrastructure needs.  And even if it didn’t, it has assets it can sell to raise the money.

Anyone still arguing in favor of a gas tax hike in light of these numbers is simply trying to rob you …

It’s been a rough couple weeks for gas tax hikers.  In addition to this wave of new money, the mainstream media in the Palmetto State has awakened to the rampant corruption in road funding.  Additionally, a national advocacy group signaled its intention to remain engaged in the debate – arguing against new taxes.

UPDATE: Well, well … it’s actually $1.2 billion.