South Carolina ended the 2014-2015 fiscal year in June with a $266 million surplus, $32 million more than budget analysts had expected.
In its closing report issued Wednesday, the state Comptroller General’s Office said that surplus is being deposited into a reserve fund to be applied towards next fiscal year. The news also allows state government to cover every item on a priority list that was only to be funded with surplus revenue.
However, the Comptroller General’s report also warned that the 2.5 percent increase in revenue this past year had slowed from the 9.1 percent growth in Fiscal Year 2012-2013.
In all, general fund revenues grew by $163 million over prior year’s revenues. It is the second consecutive year that the surplus exceeded estimates.
The $235 million in legislative priorities list includes more than $48 million towards debt service and reserve funds, an additional $23 million for the Department of Education, more than $14.5 million for various technical colleges, $12.4 million towards the Department of Commerce’s Deal Closing Fund, and $5 million for the future African-American History Museum in Charleston.
State Comptroller Richard Eckstrom warned that South Carolina still faces more than $25 billion in unfunded liabilities for state employees retirement benefits that will come due in the future.