Some state lawmakers said they would like to borrow money to pay for maintenance at state buildings and state-owned colleges.
The State newspaper reports legislative budget writers removed $20 million for college renovations from the latest state budget because they will try to use that money to borrow more when they return for next year’s session in January.
House Majority Leader Gary Simrill told the paper that lawmakers have already started a conversation with Gov. Henry McMaster about a borrowing bill and have received positive feedback. McMaster’s Democratic opponent in November State Rep. James Smith, D-Columbia, also supports a bond bill.
Legislators attempted to pass a $509 million bond in 2015, but the proposal was derailed after then-Gov. Nikki Haley threatened a veto. Haley insisted she opposed the plan because the state had been seeing year-to-year increases in tax revenue. McMaster held a similar line when the House tried again in 2017, although that plan never had the votes to pass the chamber.
State colleges and other agencies say they have had to defer maintenance or upgrades for years as budget lines slowly returned to pre-2008 recession levels.