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SC governor to deliver State of the State speech Wednesday night

Gov. Henry McMaster will deliver his annual State of the State address to senators and...
Gov. Henry McMaster will deliver his annual State of the State address to senators and representatives at the South Carolina House Chamber in Columbia Wednesday at 7 p.m.(Live 5/File)
Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 1:36 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2022 at 6:06 AM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster will deliver his annual State of the State speech, in which he lists priorities for the year and encourages state lawmakers to adopt similar priorities, on Wednesday night.

McMaster will speak to state senators and representatives in the South Carolina House chamber at 7 p.m.

The governor is expected to touch on familiar themes made in his budget request to lawmakers earlier this month and public appearances last year like an income tax cut and changing the formula the state uses to fund public schools.

He released his executive budget last Monday that laid out his priorities for 2022.

“The $2.4 billion in ARPA funds along with the almost $3 billion in surplus revenue generated by South Carolina’s booming economy - presents us with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, an opportunity that we cannot afford to squander,” McMaster wrote in a letter to the General Assembly. “If we take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, by making big, bold, and transformative investments in the areas of education, infrastructure, workforce, and economic development, South Carolina will prosper for generations to come.”

The General Assembly controls what gets spent, but lawmakers have had a good relationship with the governor.

READ MORE: Familiar tax cuts, new bonuses figure in SC governor’s budget

At the top of McMaster’s budget is cutting the income tax rate from 7% to 6% over five years, costing $177 million a year.

The governor called on the General Assembly to set aside $500 million in the state’s “rainy-day” reserve fund, a move that would double the size of the fund. McMaster’s office says the state’s debt has been cut in half since he took office and the state now has the lowest debt load in the history of the state.

“With the additional $500 million added to South Carolina’s rainy-day reserve fund, the state will now have 10% of the state’s general fund budget put away in reserves,” McMaster spokesman Brandon Charochak said.

McMaster also released his recommendations for spending some $2.5 billion in ARPA funds.

He will also likely mention his achievements of which he is most proud from the previous year including a new law that bans most abortions in the state.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.