The South Carolina Budget and Control Board today cut state agencies two percent across the board, a total of $102 million more from the spending plan which has already been $1 billion in cuts. Most state agencies have lost around 20 percent of their budgets. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman of Florence says the reduction was hard for him to make, with less than four months remaining in the fiscal year. He says the action was required due to the findings of the Board of Economic Advisors (BEA). “It really, and I told the board members, it really works on me,” said Leatherman. “We had no choice. The BEA lowered their estimate and by law we are required to take an action on it.”
The budget begins in July of each year. Today’s vote was 3 to 1, with Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom opposing the reduction. Eckstrom says he preferred that the General Assembly make that decision.
The Board of Economic Advisors are still not optimistic about the state of the economy in upcoming months. Leatherman says no one knows for sure, and he hopes the dim outlook of the analysts is wrong. “The BEA, I think, had a pretty dim view of where we are in the economy.
“We hope we don’t see any further cuts. We hope we do see it getting better, see revenue increases coming in, so we can restore some of the service we had to cut.”
Governor Mark Sanford was not present for the meeting. Treasurer Converse Chellis chaired the meeting.