Sean Rayford file photo

This story was originally published on Statehouse Report.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster last week proposed millions of dollars of spending in his State of the State address to deal with lagging and critical S.C. issues.  

The General Assembly came into session this week with a $1.2 billion surplus from the past two years, largely because it didn’t approve a FY 2020 budget because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  That allowed reserves to grow so the state is strong financially now, compared to neighboring states.

“That’s because we were thinking ahead,” the governor told a joint session of the legislature. “Now we must continue to think ahead.”

In his Jan. 13 address, McMaster outlined several recommendations to state lawmakers:

  • Rainy day.  $500 million added to a $616 million reserve fund to “be prepared for any future economic uncertainties, should they arise.”
  • Small business.  $123 million in state funds for small business grants due to the economic climate.
  • Kindergarten. $48 million to expand access to all-day kindergarten for every lower-income student in the state.
  • Classrooms. $35 million to fund classroom improvements.
  • Charter schools. $25 million more for public charter schools.
  • Broadband. $30 million to expand broadband access.
  • College. $80 million for state financial aid for qualified college students.
  • Training.  $60 million for skills training for high-demand