Politics & Government

SC gets part of that $1.5 billion lottery jackpot sold in Simpsonville

The state of South Carolina is set to rake in $60 million in added tax revenues for its share of a winning $1.5 billion lottery ticket bought at a Simpsonville store.

And that’s not all.

The state also expects to get another $10 million to $15 million as a result of ticket sales for the Mega Millions jackpot, S.C. lottery officials said on Wednesday.

Now, like the family of the thus-far- anonymous jackpot winner — who could accept an $877 million lump sum option, before taxes, or get payments over the next three decades — the bickering can begin about what to do with that unexpected windfall.

New voting machines?

Tax cuts?

Give underpaid state workers a bonus?

The windfall addition to the state’s budget is likely to create some buzz around the State House in January when lawmakers return to Columbia.

There, they will decide how to spend the state’s one-time budget surplus — already $177 million. However, that figure is before adding the approximately $60 million now being withheld by the state lottery to pay the state’s 7 percent income taxes on the lottery winner’s jackpot. Then, there is the money from the added lottery ticket sales.

So, $177 million plus $60 million plus $10 million? That’s a quarter billion.

State lawmakers and Republican Gov. Henry McMaster so far disagree on how the original $177 million surplus should be spent.

House Ways and Means Chairman Brian White, R-Anderson — the House’s chief budget writer — says the surplus should be split, with nearly $90 million of it going toward replacing 13,000 voting machines and building three new nursing homes for veterans.

McMaster — running for a full, four-year term on Nov. 6 — has pushed for state income tax cuts. (That probably sounds like a great idea to the state’s new lottery multimillionaire.)

Meanwhile, McMaster’s Democratic opponent, state Rep. James Smith, has sided with 80,000-plus state workers and teachers, who note studies show they are underpaid. They want the surplus split among them as one-time bonuses.

And that was before there was an added $70 million to squabble over.

Maayan Schechter: 803-771-8657, @MaayanSchechter
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