Good afternoon!  

I hope you are doing well and enjoying this beautiful weather!   

This legislative year has been different for me with my move from the Judiciary Committee to the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee is divided into 5 different sub-committees, and I serve on two of those: Higher Education and Transportation & Regulation.   

All five sub-committees have been meeting the last few weeks to hear budget requests from various universities and departments. These meetings have led up to the full Finance Committee meetings, which begin last week to prepare a final budget.  

A couple of weeks ago, we heard a budget presentation from Frank Rainwater, head of the BEA (Board of Economic Advisors). His numbers showed that the state has done fairly well through the first year of the pandemic, primarily due to the influx of Federal stimulus checks.   

Over $4 billion dollars have been pumped into the state from the Federal Government. As you would expect, this influx also caused a spike in sales taxes and lottery ticket sales. The latest update shows we are doing even better than originally projected.  

Just like in your home budget, though, you can’t count on this “bonus money” to budget recurring expenses. We will be spending a good bit of the next two – three weeks finishing the budget. That will leave us only one or two weeks left in this year’s session to deal with plenty of other important issues.  

All this is going on while we are reaching close to 25% of South Carolinians having received their vaccination. The last couple of weeks of good weather have shown that people are ready to get back to some normalcy.   

We are seeing full baseball stadiums, fans back at golf tournaments, and people just getting outside. Downtown Greenville is packed! You can feel the confidence that we are getting closer to the end of the tunnel.  

It is an honor to serve District 8 in the SC Senate. If you ever want to talk to me or just need help navigating state government, please give me or my assistant, Ja’vell Bynoe, a call at (803) 212-6148. 
Let’s all work together to continue to make South Carolina a great place to work, raise a family, and play!