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South Carolina lawmakers return to Columbia

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(The Center Square) — South Carolina lawmakers are poised to return to work this week, and passing a fiscal 2024-25 budget tops the list of priorities.

The House and the Senate passed versions of H.5100, the legislation behind the roughly $40 billion budget. While both chambers passed the measure before the legislature adjourned on May 9, they did not reconcile the two versions, instead sending the measure to a conference committee to hash out the differences.

However, when lawmakers return, they’ll have some additional money to allocate after the South Carolina Board of Economic Advisors voted last month to increase the revenue forecast for fiscal 2023-24, the current fiscal year, and fiscal 2024-25. Revenue collections for fiscal 2024 through April surpassed expectations by $648 million, which officials said mainly resulted from corporate income tax and investment earnings.

The revisions added another $143 million in recurring revenue to the state’s coffers and $467 million in non-recurring revenue for the fiscal 2025 budget lawmakers are considering.

The BEA increased the fiscal 2024 General Fund revenue estimate by $467 million to more than $13.3 billion and the fiscal 2025 estimate by $136 million to more than $13.3 billion.

Unrelated to the budget, on Tuesday, the Joint Legislative Conference Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on S.142, a measure that would expand the offense of human trafficking to include sexual exploitation of a minor and promoting or participating in the prostitution of a minor.

On Wednesday, the Conference Committee will hold a hearing on H.3728, the South Carolina Transparency and Integrity in Education Act. The measure sets requirements for local education agencies to follow when developing curriculum, providing public access to information related to the curriculum and a mechanism to report violations.

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