STATE OF THE STATE: Gov. McMaster plans ‘bold’ investments in South Carolina’s future
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Wednesday night, Governor Henry McMaster gave his annual state of the state address to the general assembly and residents of the state.
It focused on successes of the past 12 months and goals for the upcoming year.
The governor began by boasting about the successes of South Carolina, the 10th fastest growing state according to US Census Bureau data.
“Our gross domestic product increased 10 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic and has increased 25 percent over the past 5 years,” McMaster said.
He also mentioned the state’s lower than national average unemployment rate and highlighted business investments in all regions of South Carolina including Prestage Farm in Kershaw County and Gallo Winery in Chester County.
However, he also voiced his displeasure with mask and vaccine mandates at any level of government.
“We will not let the federal government violate the Constitution and dictate decisions that rightly belong to South Carolina and her people,” McMaster said.
When it comes to the billions of dollars of surplus revenue and federal funding the state has to invest, the governor hopes to tackle an issue he says makes South Carolina less attractive than other states.
“This year marks the 4th year that I have proposed a 1 percent rate reduction over 5 years on all personal income tax brackets, starting with an immediate $177 million cut,” the governor said.
In addition to the income tax cuts and increase to the state’s rainy day fund, McMaster proposes investments in several industries.
“We must make big, bold transformative investments in the areas of education, infrastructure, workforce and economic development to strengthen our prosperity for generations to come,” the governor said.
As well as road improvements, teacher salary increases and technical college scholarships, the governor also mentioned an improvement to rural communities.
“I have proposed that we use $500 million in federal funds to transform these water, sewer and wastewater systems in our state’s poorest counties,” McMaster said.
He added that broadband internet is another area of investment he hopes to provide funding for in order to help the rural areas and believes the future is bright for the entire Palmetto State.
“I believe the best is yet to come,” McMaster concluded. “I believe in the great people and the greatness of the people of South Carolina.”
The Democratic response began by mentioning the similarities in goals between the two sides, agreeing on many points such as the need for infrastructure repair and tax relief.
“While the governor’s words paint a picture of trying to solve problems that have existed for decades, his actions often focus on political extremism,” said Rep. Spencer Wetmore from Charleston.
The response mentioned the desire to expand Medicaid, passing of the medical marijuana bill and a different approach to helping school districts.
“If we pay more attention to working families like yours and less to the angry, loud voices on social media, we can work together, roll up our sleeves and make the progress that our state needs,” Wetmore concluded.