Job creation, debt repayment & education made top priorities
(Columbia, SC) – Today, the House approved a $6 billion final budget compromise (H. 3700) reached by the joint House/Senate Conference Committee. The FY2011-2012 state spending plan focuses on vital core functions of government and addresses top areas of concern like debt repayment and increased education funding.
House Speaker Bobby Harrell said, “This year’s more transparent budget process has produced fiscally conservative spending decisions that address our citizens’ needs and responsibly plans for our state’s future. A focus was placed on targeting core government functions. Plans to repay debt, increase reserve accounts and add to the base student cost were all funded.”
Highlights of fiscal discipline in this budget include an unprecedented amount of money that was not spent and instead set aside for items like debt repayment and rainy day reserve accounts. This includes $146 million to unemployment debt repayment, up to $261 million which fully funds increases to the General Reserve Fund five years ahead of schedule, $104.8 million dedicated to an additional back-up reserve account, and $198.6 million to fully fund general obligation bond payments, $196.4 million to be returned to communities to aid local government.
Instead of spending this year’s recently announced revenue surplus on legislative wish lists, lawmakers directed money to debt repayment, education and funded increases to the General Reserve Fund five years ahead of schedule. It’s also important to note that this revenue surplus was the result of increased private sector economic activity and not from any kind of tax increase.
“By keeping taxes low, getting government bureaucracy out of the way and cutting government spending to balance our budget, we have created a competitive and fair business climate that is allowing our state’s economy to grow out of this national recession,” Speaker Harrell said.
Due in large part to the General Assembly’s consistently conservative budgeting, South Carolina has the lowest state taxes in the nation per capita according to the U.S. Census Bureau Tax Foundation, and our state has recently jumped to the top tier in over a dozen national business competitiveness rankings. South Carolina’s low tax burden is a direct result of the more than $20 billion in tax cuts House Republicans have passed since gaining the majority.
“In this finalized budget, the General Assembly clearly showed that economic development, education, responsible debt repayment and increased reserve accounts are top fiscal priorities. Lawmakers are focused on keeping taxes low, creating a strong business climate and a quality education system to create the jobs our state needs to recover economically – and our efforts are producing real results.”
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