The Ways and Means Committee of the South Carolina House held a briefing Tuesday to give House members a look at the many cuts to the state’s budget they’ll debate next week. And it’s not pretty. The proposed cuts may eliminate close to 2,300 jobs, including temporary positions. Many remaining workers will be subject to furloughs.
Health and Human Services Subcommittee Chairman Tracy Edge of Horry County said that the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation will lose $600,000 in state funding, and since all of its funding is matched by federal funds, the impact will be even more severe.
Edge says the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs is losing $42.3 million in base funding, but will receive $12.5 million in reserve funds and retain $22 million more, for a net loss of more than $7 million. Edge says those cuts alone may affect 1000 jobs.
Edge says the Department of Mental Health will cut some beds out of its remaining hospitals, and cut out 350 jobs.
(Edge on state cuts MP3 8:34)
Edge on state cuts
The Department of Juvenile Justice plans to close six of its wilderness camps.
The Department of Public Safety will not train a new class of state troopers.
Forty-three public defenders will be cut from the judicial system.
Ways and Means Committee member Jay Lucus of Darlington County says the Forestry Commission will be cut 18 percent. “That’s a major concern since a major portion of their budget is devoted to their fire fighting effort,” he said. “Given what happened last year in Myrtle Beach, they presented us with a schedule for equipment purchases, to replace outdated equipment, which we were not able to do this year. They fear they will have to implement workforce reductions.”
Ways and Means Chairman Dan Cooper says he’s not in favor of any tax increase, considering the state’s high unemployment level.
Lawmakers hope that the U.S. House and Senate will agree on emergency funding for state governments.