South Carolina Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom says state government has $71 million more than lawmakers planned on in May when they were writing the state budget–and he would recommend that they hang onto it.
Eckstrom says the surplus comes from conservative revenue projections. In his fiscal year report he says $165 million in surplus dollars has already been put into the state’s reserve account, between July 2009 and this past July. That met the state’s requirement to keep three percent of its revenues in a rainy day fund. Officials used another $100 million surplus to pay off a deficit.
Eckstrom says state government has some really serious financial challenges facing it next year and he can’t emphasize enough the importance of the state keeping reserve funds. Eckstrom says the mid-year budget cuts experienced by state agencies this year point that out.
It would be absolutely insane if we hadn’t learned our lesson and put aside a little more money. I’m not talking about building up balances that will never get touched. It’s a matter of building up a little bit of cushion, because when revenues go down, we have expenses that need to continue, like public safety, corrections and education.
State agencies were directed this year to cut nine percent of their budgets, on top of the cuts from the previous year.