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Governor Henry McMaster Announces Line Item Vetoes for FY 2024-2025 State Budget

July 3, 2024

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster today announced line item vetoes for the FY 2024-2025 state budget at a Statehouse news conference. The budget includes a historic 292 proposals from the governor's executive budget – an increase of more than 126 from two years ago – totaling $2.4 billion. These proposals include an income tax cut, teacher and law enforcement pay raises, a college tuition freeze, and key investments in our state's bridges and workforce development through SC Nexus and South Carolina Workforce Industry Needs Scholarships.

The governor's veto message highlights his successful partnership with the General Assembly and commended the strides made by the General Assembly in disclosing the sponsors and recipients of earmarked apportionments. The governor issued 21 vetoes totaling $2.3 million. 

"After decades of overriding the gubernatorial vetoes of innocuous sounding appropriation titles inside of which the earmarks were hidden, the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives now disclose the sponsors and recipients of earmarked appropriations, as well as the activity, function, or project for which each earmark is intended," Governor McMaster wrote in his veto message. "Many of these earmarks are investments in local governments for the purchase of new patrol cars, body armor, firetrucks, upgraded weaponry, and even K9 officers. There are earmarks for infrastructure, buildings, roads, bridges, wastewater and sewer projects, recreational parks, walking trails, and traffic improvements."

However, the governor repeated his call for the General Assembly to create a public, merit-based competitive grants process for earmark appropriations. Administered by state agencies, funds would be made available only to entities that demonstrate required community support and missions consistent with the policy goals and outcomes intended by the General Assembly. All applications and award criteria would be placed online, allowing for public scrutiny and total transparency.

For a copy of the governor's veto message, click here.

The governor’s priorities funded in the final budget include the following notable proposals (all statements are attributable to Governor Henry McMaster): 


"No endeavor better illustrates our state’s leadership style than the SC Nexus for Advanced Resilient Energy (SC Nexus) consortium. SC Nexus is the culmination of groundwork laid in prior years through collaborative public-private initiatives and was developed by the South Carolina Department of Commerce in collaboration with our research institutions of higher education, technical colleges, state agencies, the Savannah River National Laboratory, economic development non-profits, and private businesses.

"This budget builds on my request by providing $20 million to support SC Nexus and serve as the “state” match as required to be eligible for federal funding"


"Until recently, South Carolina had the highest personal income tax rate in the southeast and the 12th highest in the nation at 7%. No more. A few years ago, I was honored to propose and sign into law the largest income tax cut in state history, followed by income tax cuts in each subsequent state budget. This budget continues to cut the state’s personal income tax rate, lowering the rate from 6.4% to 6.2%.

"This year taxpayers will keep an additional $199 million of their hard-earned money instead of sending it to state government. If future revenues allow, we should continue cutting the personal income tax rate each year until we are well below the 6% rate." 


"In the area of K-12 education, we continue to make remarkable progress in raising teacher pay. Six years ago, the minimum starting salary of a teacher in South Carolina was $30,113, and the average teacher salary was below the Southeastern average. Today, the minimum starting salary of a teacher in South Carolina is $42,500, and the average teacher salary now exceeds the Southeastern average.

"This budget increases teacher salaries by $4,500, making the new minimum starting teacher salary $47,000. My goal of a minimum starting salary of $50,000 – by 2026 – is within close sight."


"As you are aware, placing an armed, certified school resource officer in every school, in every county, all day, every day, has been one of my top priorities. At my request, the General Assembly began providing funds to hire more resource officers for our state’s 1,284 public schools. The grant program has been very successful. This year’s budget provides $2 million to continue adding officers in the remaining 175 schools without an assigned officer."


"Access and affordability to higher education for every South Carolinian is essential to ensuring that our state has the trained and skilled workforce to compete for jobs and investment in the future. That means we must invest to make all higher education – our colleges, universities, and technical colleges – accessible and affordable for the sons and daughters of South Carolina.

"This year marks the fifth 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."


"To address the high demand for skills, training, and knowledge, this budget once again provides $94 million in lottery funds to South Carolina Workforce Industry Needs Scholarships (SC WINS) through the South Carolina Technical College System.

"In the last four years, this very successful program has provided over 108,095 South Carolinians with scholarships to cover the cost of tuition and required fees at any of our technical colleges to earn a post-secondary or industry credential in high-demand careers like manufacturing, nursing, computer science, information technology, transportation, logistics, or construction."


"There is no infrastructure more in need of continued investment than our state’s roads, bridges, highways, and interstates. According to the Department of Transportation, there are nearly 9,000 bridges on primary and secondary roads across our state that need to be repaired, rehabilitated, or rebuilt. Many of these bridges are 60, 70, and even in excess of 80 years old and are crumbling before our eyes each day.

"While the $200 million that was appropriated by the General Assembly was less than the $500 million my executive budget proposed for emergency bridge replacement and repairs, it is nevertheless, a good start."


"For the second year in a row, the General Assembly has agreed and has appropriated $30 million to the Office of Resilience and $28 million to the Conservation Land Bank and the Department of Natural Resources. These funds will enhance these agencies’ existing efforts for preserving culturally or environmentally significant properties, disaster recovery, and flooding mitigation efforts."


"To keep South Carolinians safe, we must maintain a robust law enforcement presence – and properly “fund the police.” Our state law enforcement and criminal justice agencies have begun to stem the tide of personnel loss with recruitment and retention pay raises provided in previous years’ state budgets.

"This state budget continues that investment in our state law enforcement professionals by providing an additional $6.1 million for recruitment and retention pay raises. It is my hope that we will continue this annual investment in every state budget going forward."