- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 16, 2017

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A less-than-expected surplus is cutting $12 million more from South Carolina’s nearly $8 billion budget.

This week’s annual accounting report by Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom shows last fiscal year closed June 30 with a $60.4 million surplus. But legislators included nearly $94 million worth of surplus spending in their current state budget.

By law, Eckstrom must chop from the bottom of that priority list for one-time spending.

But the Legislature’s decision to wait until January to take up Gov. Henry McMaster’s vetoes makes it unclear what will make the cut. He struck nearly $22 million in spending from that list.

Items guaranteed funding include $24 million to Commerce for economic development deals and $5 million to replenish sand on beaches. Several items on the bottom definitely won’t get money. They include $1 million to the state Forestry Commission for firefighting equipment.

Which other items are eventually funded will be determined by which vetoes the Legislature overrides.

Eckstrom, the state’s chief accountant, cautioned legislators to spend less.

While the state continues to collect more revenue, the growth rate has slowed during the past two fiscal years, from 6.2 percent to 4.3 percent, he said.

The biggest chunk of the additional $311 million collected last fiscal year, compared to 2015-16, came from individual income taxes, according to his report.


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