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What will McMaster's budget look like?
The time for pomp and circumstance is over. State lawmakers hunker down for their first real week of work in Columbia this morning after their calendar was largely eaten up by inaugural events last week.
It will be a test for Gov. Henry McMaster, especially, as he is expected to release his executive budget sometime this week.
The executive budget is McMaster's chance to lay out his budgetary priorities. As my colleague Seanna Adcox points out: "It will be a test of whether or not he puts his money where his mouth is."
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The process: State agencies put in their budget requests this fall and soon they will see how much (and how little) they get. All told, those requests totaled some $2.2 billion in asks for new buildings, repairs, new programs, and additional employees. (In November, we laid out a sampling of what was being requested.) The governor then takes those requests into consideration when they submit their executive budget to the General Assembly.
What we expect: McMaster's inaugural address hinted at some funding priorities. In his 16-minute speech, McMaster made repeated calls to fix education, both K-12 and higher education. (And it drew some of the loudest applause.) How that translates into McMaster's budget will be worth noting.
A test for McMaster: This is a public starting point. State lawmakers can choose what to accept and what to reject from the governor's executive budget. Assistant Columbia Bureau Chief Seanna Adcox, who is now covering her 14th SC legislative session, notes that this is also a test for McMaster in seeing how willing (or unwilling) state lawmakers are to work with him, and how willing McMaster is to work with lawmakers.
The big $$$ question: What will McMaster do with the additional $1 billion surplus money the state has this go-round? Half of those monies are meant for one-time expenses. "Surpluses in state government revenues don’t mean we have to spend it all. It means prioritizing the most critical needs, then rebating what’s not needed back to the taxpayers," McMaster said in his inaugural address.
South Carolina hasn’t enforced classroom size limits since 2010
Years ago, South Carolina put limits on the size of public school classrooms. But in 2010, after the Great Recession, enforcement of those class sizes stopped.
Education reporter Paul Bowers recently found out that those limits still aren't enforced. And teachers have noticed.
In other news:
- There are no laws or regulations regarding motocross tracks and facilities in South Carolina. One father is trying to change that. Read more about the regulation gap and how lawmakers are responding.
- McMaster needed a last-minute loan to help win SC governor race. Read more about the $100,000 loan.
- The reaction last week was rather negative to word that Mick Mulvaney, a former S.C. lawmaker and congressman now in his third job in the Trump administration, would like to become the next president at the University of South Carolina. Read more about the reaction and why it may feel all too familiar.
- U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham tried to bring a six-pack onto the House floor. It didn't go well. Read more about what happened and why it was such a Capitol Hill no-no.
- Axios reports President Donald Trump Mulvaney ripped Mick Mulvaney in front of congressional leaders, telling him: "You just (expletive) it all up, Mick." Read more about the reported exchange.
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AND ONE MORE THING:
“Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism — it is because of our silence when things like this are said."
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., writing in a recent Washington Post op-ed about racially charged comments made by U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.
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