The House Ways & Means Committee adopted the budget which will be debated by the full House beginning Monday, March 14th.
The total state budget consists of the General Fund, Federal Funds and Other Funds. The General Fund represents the budget that will be debated next week and totals $5.1 billion. Federal Funds totaling $9.3 billion flow directly to schools, colleges or Medicaid. Other Funds, such as the tuition that parents pay to colleges, fines or fees total $7.4 billion. The total state budget equals $21.8 billion.
In the General Fund, the base student cost for k-12 education has been increased by 10.5%. The Medicaid program is fully funded. Health & Human Services, Dept. of Disabilities & Special Needs and Corrections all saw budget increases. Additional funds were granted to the Dept. of Commerce to recruit businesses to South Carolina, the SC Board of Technical Colleges to train workers and to the local tourism initiatives.
All General Fund amounts to ETV have been cut. Reductions to higher education are targeted to reward institutions with favorable graduation rates and higher in-state enrollment. The budget also eliminated 4,696 vacant state government jobs
The Dept. of Corrections has been combined with Dept. of Probation, Parole and Pardon. The Arts Commission and the State Museum were moved to the Dept. of Tourism. Consumer Affairs was moved to the Secretary of State. These mergers resulted in cost savings to taxpayers.