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SC general assembly approves record-setting budget

Harvey Peeler
Jeffrey Collins/AP
South Carolina Sen. Nikki Setzler, D-West Columbia, left, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Harvey Peeler, R-Gaffney, center, and Senate President Thomas Alexander, R-Walhalla, right, give the highlights of the compromise plan for the state's $13.8 billion budget on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

State lawmakers finalized next year’s record setting state budget this week. The spending plan now goes to the Governor.

Thanks to a booming economy, and federal pandemic money pumped into the state, revenue from tax collections over the past two years has been at record levels. The current fiscal year, which ends in two weeks, produced a $2 Billion surplus, and the revenue estimate for the new budget is $13.8 Billion the largest the state has ever seen.

The higher than expected revenue totals enabled the General Assembly to pass a budget that will return a billion dollars to taxpayers in the form of rebates, begin to lower personal income tax rates, and make huge investments in state services that in past years the state simply couldn’t afford.

House Speaker Murrell Smith, R-Sumter, who for the past four years was chairman of the House’s budget writing Ways and Means Committee, calls the new budget "transformational."

Russ McKinney has 30 years of experience in radio news and public affairs. He is a former broadcast news reporter in Spartanburg, Columbia and Atlanta. He served as Press Secretary to former S.C. Governor Dick Riley for two terms, and for 20 years was the chief public affairs officer for the University of South Carolina.