Quick recap of House Budget

The House is on “vacation” this week (which means many of us get to focus on our paying jobs for an unheard of five straight days).

Sorry for limited posts this week but if you’re into numbers, here’s the budget the House passed last week.

If you prefer a quick recap, read on.

THE GOOD

* Fully funded Education Finance Act ($94 million); fully funded LIFE, HOPE, and Palmetto Fellow Scholarships; funded teacher salaries at $300 above southeast average
* Annualizations were less this year ($168 million) than last year ($270 million).
* This was the first year we received an Earmark List on our desks
* No doubt the House will spend less than the Senate

THE BAD

* The debate lasted less than 16 hours for roughly seven billion dollars (that’s a seven with NINE zeros: $7,000,000,000).
* The Earmark List arrived on our desks the morning of the Budget Debate and allowed very little time to draft any amendments (without staff help, it was difficult to even find the section of the budget where the earmark was placed).
* State Employees received a 1% pay raise

THE UGLY

* We spent less than fifteen minutes “debating” the Capital Reserve Fund and there were only two amendments. The Capital Reserve Fund spends $124,000,000.
* We voted against spending $1,500 for a Senior Citizens Center in Columbia (granted, I wouldn’t necessarily agree state funds should go to that local center but with the money going to all sorts of things, saying “no” to $1,500 was more of a confirmation of my previous post on the budget than anything else). As info, Rep. Chris Hart (D – Richland) offered the amendment as well as amendments which would fund programs to help curb our state’s gang problem. I actually voted for that because one amendment took the money from a NEW PROJECT (new earmark) and instead funded an area that the state legislature addressed in the past – but without funding. My logic – how do we fund NEW things when we have an issue we all agreed is a problem for our state – but did not fund?
* No doubt the House will spend less than the Senate