By S.C. Dist. 17 Rep. Mike Burns:
The House has officially begun the second session of the 123rd South Carolina General Assembly. I am very excited to get back to work on our conservative agenda which we began last year. On Monday, Governor McMaster released an overview of his budget priorities. I am looking forward to next Wednesday, when he will lay out his entire plan during his State of the State address. The Governor is expected to talk about continuing the efforts we started last year to reform education and cut taxes. His plan will also include his ideas on how to use this year’s budget surplus to the advantage of hardworking taxpayers. I am confident that the House and the Governor will work together this session and I look forward to another great session at the State House.
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Our Conservative Agenda:
Republicans are united in our desire to provide South Carolinians government that increases the quality of life for every resident. In 2018, 186,500 people moved to South Carolina in one year - enough population for 5 current House seats. People are flocking to South Carolina because of our great business climate, low tax rates, and strong Republican leadership. In order for South Carolina to continue to prosper there are important reforms and legislation that need to be passed.
a. This summer we traveled the state to talk with teachers about their concerns, ideas, and solutions for education reform. In total, we talked with more than 60 Teachers of the Year and have taken many of their ideas into consideration this year.
b. We are also joining the Governor in proposing a $3,000 across the board pay increase (7% pay raise) for teachers. We need to make a substantial investment in teacher salaries – and finally reaching our goal of bringing SC teacher salaries above the southeastern average.We must bolster our educational process in order to provide a qualified workforce. We currently have 70,000 high paying jobs that are unfilled. Businesses will not continue to relocate here without this workforce.
2. Bolstering our reserves
a. Our reserve funds (currently $614 million) need to be higher because sooner or later, a recession will occur. Our goal is to bolster this amount to around $1 billion.
a. The reason we ended fiscal year 2019 with a $1.9 billion surplus is because South Carolinians are successful. This amount of money is made up primarily of 2 consecutive fiscal cycles where the state did not spend all of the money it had available and an economy that continues to be stronger than expected. We’ve never had more people living and working in SC, more individuals who are being successful in their jobs, and more companies earning and paying more to their employees.
b. It’s our job to be good fiscal stewards but also lower the top tax rate in our state so that we lower the top tax rate in our state so that we did not take in so much money. Or rather, we should not overtax our citizens and continue taking in too much money on their backs.
4. Santee Cooper
a. We will soon receive information regarding the bids and the recommendations from the Dept. of Administration regarding Santee Cooper. Our Caucus and the entire House are dedicated to working with the Governor to ensure we get the best deal for ratepayers and taxpayers. In two legislative sessions before it was known that they were in financial trouble. Senator Loftis and I filed bills to sell this utility which was worth up to $15 billion.
I was proud to stand with the Governor and hundreds of pro-life advocates. The purpose of the rally was to call on the Senate to pass the Fetal Heartbeat Bill the House passed last session that bans most abortions once a heartbeat can be detected.
Fact of the Week:
The top 6 states people are leaving to move to South Carolina are North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, New York, California and Maryland.
Thank you for the privilege of serving you in Columbia. If I can ever be of assistance to you, or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with the rest of the General Assembly, please don't hesitate to contact me.
– Rep. Mike Burns
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