Despite the good economy, South Carolina state lawmakers are already bracing for difficult budget debates when the legislature convenes in January. While damage estimates from Hurricane Matthew are still being developed, the storm will definitely impact next year’s state budget. Last year’s (2015) historic flooding cost the state around $200 Million.
Unanticipated hits to the state budget such as storm response make setting budget priorities more difficult. Lawmakers expect about $450 million of additional tax revenue to be available in the next budget. Besides expenses from Matthew, the state’s pension system needs more money. It is reported to be carrying a $20 Billion un-funded liability. The state is still under a state Supreme Court order stemming from the Abbeville decision to increase funding for public education. The SC Department of Transportation says it needs another $2 Billion to go with a ten year, $2 Billion dollar spending plan approved earlier this year.