SC will get $8.9B in federal COVID-19 aid, governor requires ‘transformative’ investments | Columbia Information

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COLUMBIA — South Carolina will obtain an almost $8.9 billion share from the most recent federal COVID-19 aid bundle pushed by the Biden administration.

That new inflow of cash is 38 p.c better than the state’s common fund finances and quantities to 43 p.c of the state’s complete working finances.

The funding allotted to the state, as a part of the bigger $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan handed by Congress on March 11, is also 50 p.c better than the quantity of federal funds the state usually receives yearly.



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“We had fewer issues shut down than they did elsewhere,” Gov. Henry McMaster mentioned. “We took a deliberate and cautious strategy and it labored. We went into the virus with an ideal economic system and now we’re popping out with nearly as a lot.

“The query is what can we do now as a result of right here comes extra money,” McMaster mentioned.

Of the funding coming to the Palmetto State, $2.5 billion will go to the state authorities to be allotted by lawmakers. Legislators may also have a say on tips on how to spend almost $188 million of infrastructure funding, the rules for that are nonetheless being developed by federal rulemakers.

The remaining $6.3 billion will go on to municipalities, counties, faculties and numerous companies to be expended.

McMaster reconvened a particular committee, known as AccelerateSC, which he had initially tasked with making suggestions on safely scaling the state’s economic system again up amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Because it did with earlier federal aid funding, that process power will now make suggestions to state lawmakers on that portion of funding instantly managed by the state.

The State Legislature doubtless will return within the fall to go its spending plan for that cash.



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Funds could also be used on expenditures together with COVID-19 public well being packages; broadband; reopening of key industries, like tourism; direct support to small companies, water and sewer infrastructure, early studying packages and underprivileged faculties; and any of the bills allowed underneath the earlier coronavirus federal support packages handed by Congress in the course of the Trump administration, mentioned Brian Features, director of the state’s Govt Funds Workplace.

The remaining {dollars} might be distributed as follows:

  • $1.6 billion to cities and counties, together with greater than $21 million to Charleston, $27 million to Columbia, $17.9 million to Greenville and $7.9 million to Myrtle Seaside.
  • $3.4 billion for schooling and baby care, together with $2 billion to Okay-12 faculties
  • Greater than $391 million for numerous public well being packages
  • $605.6 million for public help packages, corresponding to Head Begin, heating and cooling help, home-delivered meals, emergency rental help and meals stamps
  • $57.5 million for transportation
  • $60.7 million in credit score to small companies

Many of the AccelerateSC committee’s dialogue concerning the newest spherical of funding centered round guaranteeing state bills do not duplicate native governments’ use of their funding. Establishing a value share program was recommended to make the {dollars} go additional and keep away from overlap.

“A variety of these infrastructure tasks that months in the past appeared insurmountable now appear possible,” mentioned Tyler Servant, an Horry County councilman who sits on the duty power.

Although McMaster mentioned it has been made clear by federal treasury officers that the cash is just not for use for issues like roads and bridges, as a lot of that’s anticipated to be funded by the anticipated $547 billion floor transportation invoice presently being debated in Congress.



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Different preliminary options that got here out of the AccelerateSC assembly June 15 included an replace of the state’s IT methods; funding into airports; elevated spending on state parks, which have skilled heavy use in the course of the pandemic; and funding in water and sewer methods.

“I feel we may soar forward 10 years or so if we’re actually sensible about it,” McMaster mentioned of the inflow of money. “It is some huge cash. We have to use it correctly to make transformative, once-in-a-lifetime investments that enable us to compete nationally and globally sooner or later.”

Gaines additionally instructed the AccelerateSC group that all the $1.9 billion acquired as a part of the final coronavirus support bundle, the federal CARES Act, has been spent or allotted.

When doling out the CARES Act {dollars}, the state entered a $10.9 million contract with the non-public agency Guidehouse for auditing and evaluation of purposes for funding. The duty power really useful that the agency be used once more for these providers.

This most up-to-date spherical of funding can be utilized on bills incurred between March 3 and December 31, 2024. That timeline is also prolonged till December 31, 2026, for sure tasks.

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