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Friday, July 16, 2010

Senator Wes Hayes To Hold Public Meeting on Monday, August 2, 2010

Senator Wes Hayes will hold a public meeting on Monday, August 2, 2010, at 7:00 p.m. at Fewell Park in Rock Hill. This is a good opportunity to meet the Senator and find out what he thinks the prospects will be for comprehensive tax reform and education funding for the next year. Senator Hayes has been a very strong supporter of Public Education. You can read his summer newsletter by clicking here.
His comments (from the newsletter) on the budget are below:

With the amount of General Funds available for appropriation down for the fourth consecutive year, the FY2010-11 General Fund budget proved to be one of the most difficult to write. Peak collections were $6.7 billion in FY2006-07 but are expected to drop to approximately $5 billion for FY2010-11, which is the same level of funding available to the State in 2000. The General Fund appropriation base for FY2010-11 is approximately $5 billion after accounting for roughly $52 million in gubernatorial vetoes that were sustained by the House and Senate. Although the overall General Fund budget is down 25% over the last three years, the cuts, thus far, have been targeted instead of being applied equally across the board. For example, recurring cuts to the State’s colleges and universities have averaged 45%, which returns funding for Higher Education back to 1985 levels. While cuts to K-12 public education have not been as severe, these cuts are not without consequences, particularly when considering the gap between mandated and actual levels of funding. According to the Education Finance Act funding formula, the funding for FY2010-11 should be approximately $2.5 billion, but the actual funding available is only $1.5 billion. Fortunately, some of the cuts to public and Higher Education have been offset by the second and final round of federal stimulus funds, which total an estimated $750 million for FY2010-11. Other State agencies also have seen drastic budget cuts, including DNR and DHEC. Fee increases that had originally been proposed to help offset some of these agency cuts were in most cases rejected by the General Assembly. Thus, next year is almost certain to be a challenge as the citizenry’s demand for basic governmental services clashes with a lack of funds and resources to provide these services.

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