|$500 Million for Rainy Day Fund
With the pandemic serving up unpredictable economic shocks, homeowners on Lake Keowee and retirees can be comforted by the additional $500 million to be set aside to voluntarily increase the rainy-day reserve fund minimum balance from 7% to 10%. This is a measure of fiscal responsibility that will have lasting benefits for our state, allowing us to better prepare for any potential economic downturns in the future.
$500 Million for South Carolina’s Department of Transportation
This year, the State of South Carolina has invested more than ever in its Department of Transportation to improve transportation infrastructure around the state. The proposed budget provides $500 million for SCDOT (non-recurring), which includes $300 million for I-73 Phase 1 and an additional $50 million for recurring purposes. This is an unprecedented investment and will allow SCDOT to expedite construction projects and make repairs on our bridges, highways, interstates, and local roads, helping to reduce traffic congestion and improve safety as well. These funds will create jobs across our state while improving transportation options for all South Carolinians.
$380 Million for Rural Water & Sewer
The ageing water, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure of SC’s rural areas is in dire need of replacement and repair. The Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) has already been allocated $800 million via the ARPA funds to address this issue, but due to overwhelming demand, they have received grant applications valued at almost $2 billion. To ensure that these transformative grants can go ahead, a further injection of funds is necessary from the General Assembly. The new budget includes an appropriation of $380 million from the remaining ARPA funds. It’s essential that SC’s rural areas are provided with clean water and modern sewerage systems for the ongoing health and safety of residents and communities across the state.
$266 Million for Conservation & Environment
If you’re one of the many who values nature’s beauty and its preservation, here’s some fantastic news: the new plan includes an apportionment of $266 million to conservation projects throughout the state. The money will go towards preserving acres of land that are at risk from mismanagement, development and more. In addition, these projects will promote public access, sustainability, health and well-being.
$121.5 Million for the State Health Plan and Free OBGYN Visit
“No increase in premiums for State Health Plan participants and an annual OBGYN exam for all females covered by the State Health Plan at no additional cost, similar to the existing no-cost adult wellness visit that was added two years ago.” – Gov. McMaster
Allocating $121.5 million for the State Health Plan and including a no-cost OBGYN visit not only improves health outcomes, but also sends the message that investing in women’s healthcare is and should be a priority. Additionally, by not raising premiums this administration is prioritizing affordability of healthcare for all.
$87 Million Income Tax Cut
“Until recently, South Carolina had the highest personal income tax rate in the southeast and the 12th highest in the nation.” – Gov. McMaster
South Carolina taxpayers have something to celebrate! After having the highest income tax rate in the southeast, the plan for 2023 includes the largest income income tax cut in the state’s history. This body-blow to high taxation means that $87.5 million of planned income tax rate cuts will be delivered this year.