State Budget: what do we spend YOUR money on?

As the House continues our budget hearings and prepares for floor debate (tentatively scheduled for the week of March 10, 2014), I wanted to share some items that you may not know about our state’s finances.

The Revenues:

Nearly 90% of all South Carolina taxes are generated by either income or sales taxes.

This year’s budget estimates are approximately $200 million than expected; however, state agencies requested $1.1 Billion in new General Fund Appropriations.

The Expenses:

Nearly 67% of our general appropriations (state tax dollars) go towards Education or Healthcare .

What do we spend our money on today?

$12.7 million per school day to operate South Carolina public schools (includes transportation)

$125 million per week in Medicaid claims

$1.2 million to incarcerate 22,000 inmates per day

$38,230 per center lane mile to maintain state roads

$593 million to educate just over 208,000 public higher education students

Since 1995, the SC General Assembly has passed cumulative tax relief in the amount of $28.8 BILLION. (This often gets overlooked every year as calls of “their spending more and more” are always the loudest)

Our state’s budget is the main priority of each elected official. Trust me, there has never been a “perfect budget” and there never will be . Each member can find something they don’t like; but keeping state government running is a priority. Sometimes that means holding your nose and understanding that dreaded word in politics: compromise.

Hopefully you’re following @SCHouse on twitter and can stay informed about the various budget meetings throughout the year.

Last year we came VERY close to not passing a budget in the House (54-52). This year being an election year, I hope we don’t get that close; but it could happen. Whatever the case, we should never be in a position to shutdown our government like what happened in Washington last year. Be sure you contact your elected official in the coming months to discuss budget priorties; but please understand, getting consensus is difficutl among 170 members from across the state who have different constituencies.