Budget Watch 2011: Yet more budget provisos that merit a second look…
- Grants (each one worth at least $150,000) to private trade associations in the automotive, construction, engineering, and hospitality industries.
- Funds for the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism to entice filmmakers to South Carolina.
- Funding for up to 144 House pages (there are only 124 House members).
- Directs money, not to privatize South Carolina’s oldest-in-the-nation school bus system, but to study the issue.
- $25 million to increase teacher salaries – defining “teachers” to include librarians, guidance counselors, psychologists, social workers, occupational and physical therapists, school nurses, and others.
- $759,000 to pay for guaranteed summer jobs for agricultural education teachers.
- $2.4 million for a program to figure out whether students are bright enough to be in Advanced Placement classes.
- Department of Revenue directed to withhold interest on tax refunds by as much as two percent – effectively a hidden tax increase of roughly $3 million.
And while we’re at it . . . In our effort to dispel the notion that legislators are actually cutting the budget, we wanted to point out a couple of facts:
- No fewer than 28 agencies have an increase in Total Funds (a combination of General Fund, federal money, and “Other Funds”) for a total amount of $146.35 million.
- And 18 agencies have an increase in General Funds for a total amount of $33.2 million.