State House Report Week 10 – Budget Week

The House debated the state budget this week and passed H. 3720, the General Appropriations Bill for FY2017/2018, and H. 3721, the Capitol Reserve Fund Appropriations Bill. My Republican colleagues and I voted on a final budget that fully funds the necessities of our state while balancing the bottom line without debt.

In a release to the media, following Wednesday night’s vote, Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Darlington) and House Majority Leader Gary Simrill (R-Rock Hill) had the following to say regarding the budget:

House Speaker Jay Lucas said, “Although new revenue is scarce in comparison to years past, the House successfully appropriated additional educational resources for South Carolina students, provided a pathway to solvency for our state’s retirement system, and assisted struggling families with Hurricane Matthew recovery. Ways and Means Chairman Brian White (R-Anderson) and the subcommittee chairman worked tremendously hard on this budget package and I am proud of the product this body has adopted as the financial blueprint for the next fiscal year.”

House Majority Leader Gary Simrill said, “Each year the South Carolina House of Representatives fulfills its constitutional responsibility to originate and pass a statewide budget plan. This year was no different, and I applaud the strong leadership from House Speaker Jay Lucas and House Ways & Means Chairman Brian White for crafting a conservative budget. Unlike Washington, D.C., we balance our budget each year and do not engage in building deficits. House Republicans again delivered a budget package that reins in government spending, and stretches taxpayer dollars without raising income taxes.”

I agree with their sentiments because much like a family budget, we prioritized needs over wants while finding a proper balance for long-term investments in the future of our state. Every dollar was scrutinized, and every penny accounted for.

Over the past three months the House Ways and Means Committee listened to testimony from dozens of government agencies and appropriated state dollars to fund the operations of state government. Some big-ticket items of note include:

  • Desperately needed funding for workforce training, allowing South Carolinians to compete in the growing technologically innovative international economy.
  • Addressing the building and maintenance needs of our state’s struggling rural school districts with $100 million for capital improvements of K-12 schools.
  • $82 million in cleanup funds to cover costs incurred following Hurricane Matthew.

Our state’s conservative approach to budgeting is one reason we enjoy an outstanding AAA credit rating. The budget now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

It is an honor to serve you and your family in the General Assembly. If you ever find yourself in need of assistance navigating state government, or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with my colleagues in the House, please don’t hesitate to contact me at Tommy@tommystringer.com.

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Tommy Stringer