COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster today announced his Line Item Vetoes of the FY 2022-2023 State Budget. The governor's 73 vetoes total over $52.6 million. This year's budget includes a record number of Governor McMaster's executive budget proposals including the largest income tax cut in state history, teacher pay raises, and transformative investment into South Carolina's infrastructure. The governor's veto message highlights the governor's successful partnership with the General Assembly and focuses his vetoes primarily on earmark appropriations that lack sufficient information to justify their inclusion in the state budget.
For a copy of the governor's veto message, click here.
"State government is in the best fiscal shape ever. We have the largest budget surplus, the largest rainy day reserve fund and the lowest debt - ever - in the history of our state. Last year, we broke over a decade’s worth of records - for new job recruitment and capital investment. We’ve cut taxes on our small businesses, and we have returned money back to the taxpayers," Governor McMaster wrote in his veto message. "Over the last five years, our successful partnership has produced resounding win after win for the people and prosperity of South Carolina. This fiscal year’s budget includes a record number - (259) - of my Executive Budget proposals totaling $2.85 billion - an increase of 93 from last year."
The governor’s priorities funded in the final budget include the following, notable proposals (all statements are attributable to Governor Henry McMaster):
"We have demonstrated our continued commitment to attract and retain our talented teachers. This state budget raises the minimum starting salary for new public school teachers to $40 thousand a year, up from $30 thousand just five years ago.
And we reformed how the State funds public education, consolidating several separate funding streams that flowed from the State to the local school district and into the classroom. Now every state dollar follows the child, and every parent will know how their school district spends every single dollar and how their child’s school performs compared to others."
Income Tax Cut
"This year marked the fourth year that my Executive Budget proposed a 1% rate reduction over five years for all personal income tax brackets. As has been noted often, South Carolina had the highest personal income tax rate in the southeast and the 12th highest in the nation.
Now, the largest income tax cut in our state’s history is now a reality, partnered with a $1 billion income tax rebate. This will help keep South Carolina competitive for new jobs and investment for years to come. But we must do more. We must continue to reduce the tax and regulatory burdens on our people."
"This year, almost $1 billion in state and federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds have been appropriated to the Department of Transportation to accelerate construction, expansion, or improvements to our State-owned roads, bridges, highways, and interstates. This will accelerate the widening of Interstate 26 to six lanes between Columbia and Charleston, Interstate 95 to six lanes in the Lowcountry, and additional lane widening on Interstate 85 in the Upstate."
Water and Sewer Infrastructure
"Using federal ARPA funds, we made almost $1 billion available to the state Rural Infrastructure Authority for new water and sewer systems in our state’s poorest counties, for water and wastewater systems that are currently operating out of compliance with state regulations, and available for incentivizing large municipal water and sewer systems to “connect” to smaller and faltering systems."
Expanding Access to Broadband
"Access to broadband internet connectivity is no longer a luxury - it is a necessity, especially for those in rural areas. Emergency response, health care access, education - all increasingly rely on high-speed internet access. This year, we have provided an additional $400 million in federal ARPA funds to continue the expansion of broadband into all parts of our state through public and private partnerships."
Making College Affordable
"Access and affordability to higher education for every South Carolinian are essential to ensuring that our state has the trained and skilled workforce to compete for jobs and investment in the future. This year marks the fourth consecutive year that we froze college tuition for in-state students, while providing additional funding for needs-based financial aid at any in-state public or private college, university, or at our 16 technical colleges. And this state budget again provides one-time funds to address repairs needed at the aging, state-owned buildings, and infrastructure on the campuses of our colleges, universities, and technical colleges."
"Our state’s booming economy has created 100 thousand open jobs - in high demand skilled trades and professions. Working with the South Carolina Technical College System, we created Workforce Scholarships for the Future at our 16 technical colleges - so residents can get the degree or credentials they need to fill one of those open jobs in high-demand careers like manufacturing, healthcare, computer science, information technology, transportation, logistics, or construction. To date, over 6,000 South Carolinians have been retrained and employed - and we plan to keep the scholarships going until all those jobs are filled."
Law Enforcement Pay Raises
"In January, I directed the Department of Administration to undertake a complete compensation analysis of all law enforcement positions at all state agencies, and to provide recommendations for new compensation packages. As a result of that study, this budget fully funds those recommendations, providing $40 million in new dollars for recruitment and retention pay raises, salary adjustments and additional benefits.
We must also provide the necessary resources to keep our law enforcement officers safe while they are on-the-job. My Executive Budget recommended, and the General Assembly appropriated $20 million to fund a body camera and protective vest grant program at the Department of Public Safety for local and county law enforcement agencies."
"Career military veterans who retire in South Carolina will no longer pay state income taxes on their retirement pay, now that the General Assembly has acted on my long-standing request to end these taxes. The decision makers at the Department of Defense will most certainly take note of this when making decisions on the future of our state’s military installations. No state has a stronger military tradition than ours."
Maintaining the Public's Confidence
"It is imperative that the public maintain confidence in their elected representatives at all levels of government. This state budget includes my recommendations to expand the resources of the Office of the Inspector General while providing the State Election Commission funds for new auditors to conduct regular and routine audits of elections held by the State and all political subdivisions."