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From The Statehouse With Rep. Anne Thayer: Baby, budget, ports and Panthers

Updated: Mar 21, 2019

By Rep. Anne Thayer

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 06:49PM 

The BIG NEWS this week is that we had our first grandbaby. It is a beautiful little boy with a head full of hair, named Lochlan Thomas Edmondson. For the women, he was 20 1⁄2” long and weighed a whopping 8 lbs, 15 oz.

Although the baby is named, my husband Mark and I are having difficulty finding that grandparent name by which we will be called. Feel free to Facebook any suggestions.

The other news is the South Carolina State House passed its version of the budget. Unlike the House of Representatives in Washington DC, your SC House of Representatives knows it’s responsible to you to pass a state budget that is balanced and spend your tax dollars on meaningful and important priorities. Our goal was to protect taxpayers as we focused on the core functions of state government.

Not only does the budget not increase taxes, our version of the budget actually provides tax relief in the form of a rebate for everyone who pays income tax. Don't spend that rebate yet because it still has to pass the Senate.

'Budget Week' is rather grueling; Tuesday's debate alone extended to more than 15 hours. With a General Fund balance of $8.7 million to appropriate, we successfully sent the 2019-2020 budget to the Senate with only one "nay" vote. The highlights:

• $160 million to provide every teacher a pay raise, helping to ensure we recruit and retain the very best teachers.

• $50 million for high-poverty school districts to use for building renovations and upgrades.

• $20 million for new and improved textbooks and instructional materials for our schools.

• $10 million to hire 120 more school-resource officers for schools that cannot afford them.

• $41 million to raise state employee salaries.

• $49.7 million to cover state employee health and dental insurance increases.

• $40 million to upgrade voting machines.

• Once again defunded Planned Parenthood (the courts will decide eventually).

In his budget request to Congress, President Trump included $138 million to continue dredging Charleston Harbor. It's great to have a president who understands the

importance of the economic engine that the ports represent to SC. Our state has already contributed $300 million for this dredging project, which will allow the largest container ships in the world to easily utilize the Charleston Port.

Lastly, there is more good news for South Carolina. The Carolina Panthers are working on a deal to move their NFL team's headquarters and training facilities out of Charlotte and into South Carolina. This would be a huge economic win for our state that would drive hundreds of millions of dollars into our economy. At a Statehouse news conference, Gov. McMaster announced they are working on an incentives package and also working with SCDOT to provide infrastructure improvements for the Rock Hill and York County areas.

As always, I appreciate the opportunity of serving you.


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