State budget forecasters increased to $522 million Wednesday their estimate of how much added money S.C. lawmakers will have to spend in the next state budget, which begins July 1.
The $76 million added Wednesday is only a small increase in the state’s roughly $8 billion general fund budget.
However, the added — or new — money helps.
Lawmakers are grappling with multi-billion-dollar problems, including repairing the state’s crumbling roads and shoring up the state pension system, which owes roughly $20 billion in unfunded benefits to retirees.
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Lawmakers also must decide how many of the added taxpayer dollars — largely state income and sales taxes — to use to rebuild understaffed services, including underpaid Corrections and Juvenile Justice officers, and Mental Health and Social Services workers.
Poor, rural schools also are due more money after a court ruling saying the state’s education system is unconstitutional.