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Gov. Henry McMaster Unveils Fiscal Year 2019-20 Executive Budget

Governor McMaster and Lt. Governor Evette Unveil 2019-20 Executive Budget
January 15, 2019

Columbia, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster today announced the FY 2019-20 Executive Budget – a fiscally responsible budget that invests heavily in K-12 education, returns $200 million of surplus funds back to the taxpayers who earned it, and proposes a path toward freezing tuition at South Carolina’s institutions of higher learning.

To view the governor’s Executive Budget in its entirety, along with the governor’s cover letter and detailed explanations of the points below, visit the executive budget page.

Budget Highlights:

Tax Relief

The 2019-20 Executive Budget proposes tax relief for South Carolinians in the form of:

  • A one-time, pro-rata tax rebate in the amount of $200,000,000;
  • An immediate and full retirement income tax exemption for military veterans and first responders, including retired state and federal law enforcement, firefighters and peace officers, representing $20,742,570 in relief the first year.

K-12 Education

The 2019-20 Executive Budget provides for the following: 

  • A 5% across-the-board salary increase for South Carolina teachers, totaling $154,561,655, bringing average teacher salary up to $53,185 – $355 above the projected southeastern average for FY20;
  • $100,000,000 for the “Rural School District Economic Development Closing Fund” to provide funding for infrastructure which may be utilized to bring jobs and investment to the state’s poorest rural school districts;
  • $46,354,044 to put a School Resource Officer in every school in the state and $2,200,000 to provide every school in the state with access to a mental health counselor;
  • $35,953,978 toward tuition mitigation upon CHE’s certification that tuition and fees have not been raised on in-state students at public universities;
  • $31,820,610 for a $10 base student cost increase;  
  • A $15,404,235 increase for the S.C. Public Charter District to support six new charter schools and 5,400 new students;
  • $5,000,000 for new bus leases;
  • $5,000,000 for instructional materials at public school districts;
  • $3,100,000 for computer science and coding education;
  • $737,448 for a First Steps Outcomes and Accountability Data System.

Economic and Workforce Development

The 2019-20 Executive Budget provides for the following:

  • $63,185,000 towards workforce partnerships, scholarships and grants for students interested in attending South Carolina technical schools;
  • $4,000,000 for LocateSC to help recruit prospective businesses to South Carolina;
  • $3,700,000 for Department of Commerce’s closing fund;
  • $2,000,000 to the Department of Agriculture for regional farmers markets and $1,000,000 for agribusiness infrastructure grants;
  • $950,000 for the “Be Pro Be Proud” workforce initiative; 
  • $699,000 for workforce training at the Department of Corrections.

Public Safety

The 2019-20 Executive Budget provides for the following:

  • $40,000,000 to the Department of Corrections for increased detention services and equipment upgrades;
  • $33,585,000 in salary increases for law enforcement and firefighting agencies; 
  • $9,729,383 in recurring dollars for the Criminal Justice Academy;
  • $6,037,806 for officer recruitment and retention at the Department of Corrections;
  • $2,293,564 for additional vice personnel at SLED to combat the opioid crisis; 
  • $2,200,000 to the Office of the Adjutant General for land acquisition at the McEntire Joint National Guard Base;
  • $2,000,000 for the National Guard Tuition Repayment Program; 
  • $1,749,370 for SLED to operationalize the S.C. Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity program.


The 2019-20 Executive Budget provides for the following:

  • More than $40 million for veterans nursing homes, including $37,065,450 for three new facilities through the Department of Mental Health and $3,940,000 to renovate the Campbell Veterans Nursing Home;
  • $3,000,000 through the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services to fund improvements to the substance abuse provider system;
  • $1,550,000 for information technology at the Department of Mental Health; 
  • $1,214,200 for Clemson’s Health Innovation Program to educate communities on healthy living;
  • $1,200,000 for the Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital abuse and neglect medical response program.

Good Government and Ethics

The 2019-20 Executive Budget: 

  • Provides $5,000,000 to the State Election Commission for new voting machines; 
  • Requires agencies to utilize consolidated administrative services through the Department of Administration (DOA);
  • Establishes a centralized real property and facilities management process for all state government agencies;
  • Directs DOA to establish and issue uniform written standards and guidelines for data entry into the Statewide South Carolina Enterprise Information System (SCEIS);
  • Allocates additional funding for investigation and enforcement enhancement at the State Ethics Commission by doubling the registration fee for lobbyists and lobbyist principals from $100 to $200, and requires anyone paid to influence decisions made by county, city or town councils to register as lobbyists.

Environment and Energy

The 2019-20 Executive Budget provides for the following:

  • $8,000,000 for new cabins and $1,200,000 for road repairs on Hunting Island;
  • $5,000,000 to the Forestry Commission for enclosed tractors to fight fires; 
  • $3,000,000 for fish hatchery repairs and renovations.


The 2019-20 Executive Budget provides for the following:

  • $40,312,517 for emergency preparedness, including: 
    • $31,312,517 in FEMA matching funds to respond to Hurricane Florence;
    •  $9,000,000 for the creation of a South Carolina Emergency Operations and Emergency Management Assistance Compact Support Fund;
  • $2,500,000 for state water planning at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources;
  • $713,564 for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources for statewide water monitoring and evaluation;
  • $234,673 to facilitate partnerships with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to improve rural water and sewer infrastructure.