Gov. Mark Sanford today released the eighth and final Executive Budget of his Administration -- a balanced, activity-based $5.38 billion spending plan for Fiscal Year 2011-12 that prioritizes spending in yet another tough budget year, addresses the billion dollar budget shortfall left by now-extinct federal stimulus dollars, offers $265 million in cost savings, and endeavors to protect core government functions such as education, public safety, economic development, natural resources and health care. [The Executive Budget is also available in .pdf formatby clicking this link. For members of the media, printed copies of the Executive Budget will be made available by 1:30 p.m. in the Governor's Office. Due to copying costs, we will only be making available one printed copy per media outlet.]
Even though South Carolina is still feeling the effects of a challenging economy, and much attention has been given to the more than $2 billion cut from the state budget's General Fund during the past three years, it is important to keep in mind that this year's total budget is expected to be more than $23 billion. This $23 billion includes federal funds and state fees and represents the highest total budget in South Carolina history during one of the worst budget years. It is also $1.3 billion more than last year -- a six percent increase. Over the course of this Administration, the total state budget will have jumped from around $15.5 billion in 2003 to $23.1 billion in 2012 -- an increase of 49 percent, or six percent annually. This outpaces the population-plus-inflation by 1.6 percent, annually, on average.
"The worldwide economic downturn, coupled with unsustainable state spending growth and the end of stimulus dollars, has turned what once was a potentially avoidable fiscal storm into a billion dollar budget shortfall," Gov. Sanford said. "Still, in these difficult times there are opportunities for long-overdue reforms. This Executive Budget makes some very tough decisions, but it also offers three reforms that we believe will accrue to the taxpayers' favor: spending caps, state government restructuring and comprehensive tax reform. These measures would save taxpayer dollars and best serve our state as together we seek to make South Carolina a better place to call home."