COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Gov. Henry McMaster submitted his Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21 Monday afternoon.
The governor laid out various proposals and plans that invest heavily in education, workforce development, public safety and government reforms.
But what most taxpayers will be eager to hear -- he’s also promising another year of rebate checks.
The governor said South Carolina is in a unique position with this $1.8 billion windfall in the upcoming fiscal year’s budget. The extra money was a result of unexpected revenue from taxpayers.
“This means two things,” he said. “Number 1 -- we’re doing very well. Number 2 -- we have to give as much money back to the taxpayers as we can.”
McMaster said he wants to accomplish this through a tax cut, retirement income exemptions for military veterans and first responders, and another taxpayer rebate.
“That is the way to keep priming this pump to keep our economy going,” he said.
About $430 million of the surplus will be used to cover that part of the plan.
Another $250 million will go towards the rebate. The governor’s plan is to send that money to taxpayers in the form of rebate checks like people saw in 2019.
According to the governor’s office, the checks will be prorated based on the individual’s tax liability, with the minimum being $50. They said the average check could be around $204.
“It’s like the goose that laid the golden egg,” McMaster said. “If we spend everything, then the goose is gone. We have to give some of that back to the goose to keep that goose working.”
The budget plan also focuses on education.
It sets aside $231.5 million to cover a pay raise of $3,000 for more than 52,000 teachers in South Carolina. It also allots $13.8 million for additional teacher recruitment and retention.
The governor’s executive budget also provides $52.7 million to expand full-day 4K offerings for low-income children in South Carolina. (Story continues below the video of his full news conference.)
According to the governor’s office, the executive budget provides $38 million for law enforcement and criminal justice retention.
The governor said there are 130 vacancies at the Department of Public Safety. His hope is to put 100 new troopers on the roads within one year.
His budget plan also sets aside $100 million for safety and security upgrades for the Department of Corrections.
McMaster is also proposing some budgetary reform. He wants to use $22.6 million to end roll-up appropriations and replace them with a competitive grant appropriation for each agency.
The governor is also proposing merit-based raises for state employees. This would cost about $33 million.
Read the full executive budget by clicking or tapping here.