In 2020, Governors and other state leaders around the country were forced into pondering challenging budget and revenue questions that would exist long after COVID-19 was in the rear-view window. States that closed their hospitality economies would face revenue shortfalls and new demands to provide support to struggling employers and employees. South Carolina took a different approach, and our state’s 2021-2022 budget vindicates those decisions from an economic perspective.
Recognizing that South Carolina was in a much stronger position than many of our competitors, the Myrtle Beach area legislative delegation pounced at the opportunity to make our region a better place to live, work, visit and do business.
For starters, the state budget includes a 2.5 percent raise for all state employees. Many of these employees worked throughout the pandemic and put our state in a great position to respond and rebound to COVID-19.
The budget also invests in educators by providing a $1,000 pay raise to all teachers. Beyond giving teachers a pay raise, the state budget increases the base student cost and expands full-day pre-K education statewide. We will also benefit from new investments in job training programs like ReadySC.
State legislators also understood the importance of our state’s key tourism industry and invested record dollars for tourism promotion.
Our Horry/Georgetown Delegations worked relentlessly to secure funding in the state budget for several critical local projects. The budget includes $3 million for deep-water ocean outfalls to help with the treatment of stormwater and water quality in North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach.
The budget also invests $500,000 in the construction of the new, state-of-the-art Surfside Beach pier.
Flooding has ravaged specific communities in Socastee as well as other parts of Horry County and the state. This budget includes funding to help address these repeatedly flooded communities.
On the south end, the state budget invests $2 million for dredging in Murrells Inlet. Not only is this needed for recreational fishers and boaters, but it is also vital for commercial fishing with many area restaurants and vendors depending on fresh seafood. The state budget also invests $1 million for the dredging of the Georgetown Port, which will open new economic development opportunities to the area.
Providing funding for a Family Justice Center shelter in Horry County has long been a priority of the legislative delegation and they got it done this year.
The state budget also invests in the creation of a Veterans Nursing Home in Horry County.
The delegation also secured funding, for the first time, for pedestrian safety projects in the City of Myrtle Beach. The budget also recognizes the public safety demands that tourist communities like Myrtle Beach faces and provides specialized public safety support for both the City of Myrtle Beach and Horry County.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg! Credit to our delegation for delivering for their constituents and our area business community in a big way in the FY21-22 budget. South Carolina took a common sense, pro-business approach toward responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and this budget reflects that same commitment.
Take a minute to click the link below to thank your State Senator and Representative for their hard work on your behalf in Columbia.