Gov. McMaster’s budget features tax relief, pay raises, additional funding for education

The budget still needs to be approved by the House and Senate

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) —With South Carolina lawmakers set to return to Columbia Tuesday, Governor Henry McMaster (R-South Carolina) introduces his newest budget.

Some of the big items in his proposal include pay raises for teachers, law enforcement, and state employees, but also relief for taxpayers across the state.

With an additional $1.8 billion to use, Gov. McMaster says the best way to keep South Carolina’s economic boom going is to use the money to fund critical areas and giving the rest back to taxpayers.

His proposed budget plans to return nearly a quarter of every dollar of the surplus, which will amount to $400 million, back to the taxpayers through rebate checks and tax relief.

Gov. McMaster said his budget cuts personal income taxes by $160 million in 2020-21, and $2.6 billion over the next five years. According to the budget, $250 million will be going to taxpayers in the form of rebate checks. The Governor’s Office says the minimum amount a household could receive is $50, and then it could rise pro rata.

“If we give that money back to the people in the form of rebates and we lessen the amount we take from them in the future, that would be the result of the proof of what is happening here with our expansion. What does that do? That guarantees more expansion in the future,” Gov. McMaster said.

In addition to tax relief, Gov. McMaster’s budget also includes plans for all-day kindergarten for low-income four-year-olds, and also $3,000 pay raises for all public school teachers across the state.

The budget also looks to put a school resource officer and mental health counselor in every school across the state.

“If you take it one step at a time, the number of steps that have been taken over the years, this is another big step that we need to take but we’ve got to educate the children,” Gov. McMaster said.

Governor McMaster’s proposed budget also devotes $38 million towards pay raises for law enforcement, including $5 million to the Department of Public Safety to recruit and retain more officers.

“It’s important to have good men and women in those positions and plenty of them. We’re short right now. We need to fill those ranks and we intend to do so,” said Gov. McMaster.

At the end of the day, the Governor says all these efforts are necessary to keep the state’s economic motor running.

“Reinvestment in the people, letting them have their own money and spend that money, that is what’s causing this boom we’re experiencing, and we must continue that,” Gov. McMaster said.

In order for the Governor’s budget to be official, both the House and Senate have to approve it. Lawmakers will return to the Capital City Tuesday at noon.

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