The S.C. Budget and Control Board has decided that every state agency has to trim spending this fiscal year, which began July 1, in response to gloomy economic expectations. The move passed the board by a vote of 3-2 on Tuesday, and Gov. Mark Sanford immediately voiced his opposition to the idea, which equals about $188 million in cuts to the state budget.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, said that continued national economic trends made it prudent to act now rather than wait until later in the fiscal year, which began July 1. Waiting would risk forcing more drastic cuts later, he warned.
Gov. Mark Sanford called across-the-board cuts “a real mistake.” He argued that the money should be set aside and the General Assembly should return to Columbia to make prioritized cuts — something the Budget and Control Board isn’t empowered to do. He said not all agencies are equally important to fund or equally efficient with taxpayer dollars.
The State writes that schools will be the ones to suffer the most from the budget cuts. All in all, the cuts will mean about $73 million less for the Department of Education. From The State:
The cuts likely will mean fewer school field trips, unfilled jobs, and tough decisions about what state agencies and schools can and can not afford.
It was unknown Tuesday whether state employees’ raises might be cut or whether any agencies planned layoffs.
The Post and Courier also has some response from area schools on how the loss of funding will impact them. (Hint: It's not exactly sunshine and rainbows.) Read the stories for more details on the cuts, including where some of the other heavy hits will be.