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South Carolina state budget (2012-2013)

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The legislature passed the $6.7 billion fiscal year 2013 state budget on June 28, 2012, and it arrived on Gov. Nikki Haley's desk on June 29, 2012. The governor used the full five days (not counting Sunday) to consider her vetoes, so the fiscal year started without a budget signed into law. The legislature passed a continuing resolution to keep government running until the bill became law.[1]

Gov. Haley issued 81 budget vetoes, perhaps the most notable being her veto of sending $10 million of the state's $28.2 million mortgage settlement funds from banks to the Department of Commerce's "closing fund." She noted that the fund would have $15 million without the mortgage money, which was a $5 million increase over what the fund had in fiscal year 2012.[2] Her vetoes eliminated funding for the South Carolina Arts Commission and the South Carolina Sea Grants Consortium.[3]

The legislature voted to override many of Haley's vetoes, including those on funding for teacher pay, the Arts Commission and the rape crisis centers.[4]

The budget as enacted following the legislative overrides can be accessed here.

The budget included $1.3 billion in one time funds.[5] Budget highlights included:

  • The first pay increase in four years for state workers: a three percent pay increase for most state employees, and a five percent increase for state law enforcement officers earning less than $50,000 per year. The budget provided $48 million to school districts to increase teachers' pay by two percent. The budget as passed also covered state employees' rising health insurance premiums.[5]
  • $153 million more for public schools.[5]
  • $300 million to dredge the Charleston harbor to a 50-foot depth to accommodate mega-size ships expected to call after the Panama Canal was widened in 2014.[5]
  • Coverage of rising health insurance premiums for state employees.
  • $48 million to school districts specifically to increase teachers’ pay by two percent.

Legislative proposed budget

With the House and Senate $6.6 billion budgets not reconciled, the legislature adjourned on June 7, 2012. Lawmakers took up the budget again when they reconvened on June 19, 2012, for a special session.[6]

The legislature approved a $6.7 billion final budget on June 28, 2012.[5] The House passed the spending plan with a vote of 89-10 in favor and the Senate voted 26-8.[5] The final budget included a tax cut for small business owners.[5]

The Senate approved a $6.6 billion fiscal year 2013 proposed budget on May 16, 2012. The budget added additional judges, which lawmakers said was necessary because South Carolina's general court judges at the time had the highest caseload nationwide. The budget bill was sent back to the House, but no action was taken before the session concluded.[7]

Both chambers' budget proposals cut the income tax rate that small business owners pay on their profits, with the Senate plan phasing in the approach over multiple years, while the House plan immediately reduced the rate from five percent to three percent, meaning $65 million less in revenue in 2012-2013.[6]

The House unanimously approved its fiscal year 2013 spending plan in March 2012.[8] Highlights of the House budget included:[8]

  • A two percent raise for state employees and teachers;[8]
  • Additional education funding, increasing the base student cost from $1,880 to $2,012;[8]
  • $180 million to deepen the Charleston port;[8]
  • $77 million to pay down the state's debt to the federal government for what it borrowed for unemployment benefits; and[8]
  • Five percent into the state's rainy day fund, more than the constitutionally required four percent, which was an additional $58 million.[8]