The $21 Billion Budget: Three Categories of State Spending

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The state of South Carolina spends approximately $21 billion each year. This is three times higher than the state budget figure frequently cited publicly. This smaller figure represents only the state general fund; in addition to the general fund the state also spends money collected from the federal government as well as through state fines and fees.

The following report outlines the state”s three budget categories:

  1. General Funds: ($6.7 billion) Comprised mainly of sales, income, property tax revenue
  2. 32 percent of state spending, what most people refer to as the entire state budget
  3. Other Funds: ($7 billion) Comprised of fines and fees levied by state agencies
  4. 34 percent of state spending
  5. Federal Funds: ($7.1 billion) Comprised of matching funds, grants and aid from Congress
  6. 34 percent of state spending

*Numbers based on original H.4800 FY 2008-2009 Appropriations

Over the past ten years, federal funds have grown from the smallest portion of the state budget to the largest. The state general fund — which is the only portion of the budget typically discussed — now accounts for just 32 percent of actual state spending. With talk of more federal bailouts ongoing, federal control over state spending is on pace to increase even more.

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