South Carolina’s local governments are not guaranteed an extra $70 million next budget year, under a bill approved by the House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday morning.
Representatives from the state’s cities and counties said the money is critical for local governments providing local services, like police and fire protection and garbage pickup. And state law requires they get the money.
But some state lawmakers said taxpayers simply cannot afford to give local governments that much more money. Rep. Brian White, R-Anderson, said to fully fund public education will take $600 million this year -- and the state only has $500 million in new recurring dollars to spend.
The bill, which passed 15-7, now goes to the House of Representatives.
Democrats tried to amend the bill to allow local governments to compensate by giving less money to state-mandated programs. Republicans killed that amendment. But some Republicans said they would try to give local governments that ability in a budget proviso.
The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to discuss budget provisos Tuesday afternoon. S.C. ETV will stream that meeting live on the Internet.