Arguably the most important bill the House debates each year is the Appropriations Bill – the legislation that spends your hard-earned tax dollars.
This week, the House Ways and Means Committee approved the first version of the 2012-2013 budget. The highlight of the budget is an additional $152million increase to K-12 education. This will increase base student cost to $2,012, sending more money down to our state’s classrooms – an increase designated to give teachers a raise in pay.
As our economy steadily improves we are committed to passing a budget that meets a few critical tests:
Living within our means; Making reserves a priority; Funding core missions of State government; Investing in programs that have proven successful in helping put people back to work, and Improving our State’s infrastructure.
The current draft of the budget passed by the Ways and Means Committee keeps our spending plan within the spending cap passed by the House last year. The proposed budget sets aside $180 million to dredge the Port of
Charleston – one of our state’s largest economic engines. That amount is the state’s portion of the project once it is approved. We believe the money we set aside for the port is a commitment to the Federal Government that we are serious about this expansion. It is our hope this commitment will speed the process of deepening the port.
The House also included a 2% state employee pay raise and the funding of 50 new state law enforcement officers. In our proposal, $47 million worth of tax relief will be given to businesses across the State as we once again contribute funds to repay the SUTA debt. The current proposal also seeks to restore over $18 million in funding to the Department of Mental Health.
The next few weeks will be busy as we debate the State budget on the House floor. Thank you for allowing me to serve you in Columbia.
Representative Anne Thayer
House District 9