The South Carolina Board of Economic Advisers decided Tuesday not to make any change this month in its revenue projections for the state. Board Chairman John Rainey met with the board by telephone, saying that the board will wait and look at the economic picture again in October. Current revenue figures are five-percent less than this time last year.
Rainey says the projection reduction of $208 million two months ago was the right move. “I think there were some people who looked at that with a jaundiced eye. As it turns out, we got lucky.”
There had been a previous reduction of $80 million in June.
The board was pleased with its corporate license fees, which at $8.1 million for July through August were more than twice what were expected, resulting in revenues so far this year of $127.3 million. Rainey noted that credit card debt in the state has been consistently down, as many consumers try to save more cash during the recession. That figure dropped seven percent in a month’s time to just over $900 billion in August.
South Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped to 11.5 percent in August, compared to July’s figure of 11.7 percent. That could potentially mean a trend of less pressure on the state budget, and the state would not have to borrow as much from a federal pool for unemployment benefits. But Rainey isn’t exactly optimistic.
“It’s hard for me to see, as long as the national unemployment rate is just under ten percent, that this dip down we have is anything more than a dip down. The rate wi
Rainey says employment figures from the next few months, approaching the holidays, may be more reflective of employment reality.
The Board of Economic Advisors’ Employment Study Committee will meet with Employment Security Commission officials Tuesday. But currently, the ESC expects South Carolina to owe the federal government $650 million by year’s end and possibly up to $1 billion by March.