The Buzz

Forecast: SC budget to start $131.4 million higher

The process of writing next year’s state budget will start with $131.4 million in added revenue, the S.C. Board of Economic Advisors said Thursday, forecasting a $7.5 billion general fund budget.

Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom closed the state’s books with a $86.8 million surplus for the fiscal year that ended June 30. But that surplus was after $50 million in additional surplus money had been transferred to the Transportation Department.

Of the $136.8 million in added revenues that the state is projected to have next year, almost all the money — $131.4 million — is due to higher revenues. The remaining $5.4 million is in unspent money, said the board’s chief economist Frank Rainwater.

“Revenues experienced a growth spurt in the last couple of months in the fiscal year, which is a sign of the good economy,” Rainwater said. “As long as we don’t experience a sudden downturn, we’re benefiting from a (period) of growth.”

Reach Cope at (803) 771-8657.