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#SCStateHouse: Lawmakers Have $177 Million Surplus To Play With

What could possibly go wrong?

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Cue the “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems” refrain …

South Carolina lawmakers will have nearly $180 million to do with as they see fit in the current budget cycle after the last budget cycle (fiscal year 2017-2018) closed with a surplus.

According to budget writers in the S.C. House of Representatives, the state’s comptroller general Richard Eckstrom closed the books on the previous fiscal year earlier this month – revealing a $177 million surplus.

The extra money “likely stems from changes to the federal tax code and subsequently capital gains,” according to an email sent to lawmakers from House budget staffer Katie Turner.

The $177 million is what is known as an “un-obligated surplus” – which means lawmakers can use the money however they see fit.  In other words it could go toward debt relief, reserve funds, one-time expenditures or … imagine this … tax relief.

The final 2018-2019 state budget – which began on July 1 – clocked in at a whopping $28.6 billion.  And that’s before you count the food stamp money that flows through the scandal-scarred S.C. Department of Social Services (SCDSS).  State lawmakers surreptitiously took this money off of the books four years ago – when annual expenditures on food stamps in South Carolina totaled around $1.5 billion.

The $28.6 billion mark represents a $1.2 billion (or 4.3 percent) from the previous year.  Oh, and none of that incorporates state government’s recent surge in borrowing.

Government has grown mindlessly – and ineffectually – over nearly two decades of complete “Republican” control of the S.C. General Assembly.

Meanwhile, despite having the power of the bully pulpit and the veto pen, “Republican” governors Nikki Haley and Henry McMaster have utterly failed to rein things in.  In fact, McMaster’s first round of vetoes were so totally insignificant lawmakers didn’t even bother to address them.

This year they were even weaker …

We have said it before, we will say it again: Politicians of both parties in the Palmetto State are addicted to taxingborrowing and spending on a government that consistently produces abysmal outcomes – economicallyfiscallyeducationally and with regards to infrastructurepublic safety and other core functions of government.

And that’s before we even address their disastrous meddling in the private sector …

Until they reverse this mentality and engage market-based reforms, expect to see more of the same increasingly costly failure.

What do you think lawmakers should do with the $177 million surplus?  Vote in our poll and post your thoughts in the comments section below …

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