It seemed unfathomable to some earlier this year that the South Carolina Legislature — staring at massive budget requests that included fixing years of deferred maintenance at state-owned buildings — would agree to spend millions just to return some money back to the S.C. taxpayer.
But come the first week of December, many South Carolinians will see that return in the form of a paper check.
The state’s Department of Revenue said this week that more than one million qualifying S.C. taxpayers will receive a one-time, $50 rebate check from the state agency, in part paid for by the $61 million Mega Millions windfall the state received last year.
An individual must have filed a 2018 S.C. individual income tax return on or before Oct. 15, and that person must have a South Carolina individual income tax liability after credits of at least $50.
In a twist for households, only one check will go out per tax return, meaning married couples who filed a joint return will get only one check in the mail.
Gov. Henry McMaster first proposed the idea, pitching in his executive budget to return $200 million to taxpayers.
The state will spend about $700,000 on postage to mail the checks. And the economic impact, according to some experts, may not be much.
“It’s hard to see how handing each person $50 will have a major effect on South Carolina’s economy,” Richard Auxier, a research associate at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, said in March. “The South Carolina economy is very big. And $50, while it may seem like a lot to some, it’s definitely not an economic growth strategy.”