General fund revenues for the state of South Carolina continue to decline, according to Comptroller Richard Eckstrom.
Revenues for June 2009 were 10 percent lower than revenues for June 2008, at $71.7 million.
Individual income tax revenue in June was down 10.1 percent ($36.8 million) compared to corresponding revenues for the previous June.
Sales tax revenue last month decreased 6.7 percent ($13.8 million) compared to June 2008 sales taxes.
Eckstrom says it’s tough to absorb giant revenue reductions as those seen in recent months without laying off employees. He says he knows the economy will turn around eventually. “But there doesn’t appear to be any sign that the turn is any time soon. For the last 12 months, we saw the general fund drop almost a billion dollars. That’s very, very significant.”
Eckstrom emphasized his mantra of less government spending, especially when the public is spending less. He continues to call for spending caps and funding for only the essential functions of state government.
Eckstrom says once the economy does turn, he believes it will happen quickly. “I believe the recovery will occur more quickly than the decline. People are getting rid of debt when they can. The savings rate in the US is climbing to historically high levels.”
Eckstrom says people who have been able to put money into savings have been doing so. “I think consumers are scared to spend right now. Until the economy turns, consumers will continue belt tightening, which I think they ought to be doing.”
Eckstrom, a Republican, says federal stimulus money is an excuse to keep from eliminating unnecessary spending. He says revenue numbers don’t indicate improvement, months after the president’s trillion-dollar stimulus-spending bill.
State and national unemployment rates keep climbing higher, so there’s certainly no evidence that jobs are being created or saved through the massive deficit spending that’s occurring in government. He says talk in the White House of another stimulus bill is just a way to further grow government.