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McMaster: ‘Speed up the income tax cut schedule’

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(The Center Square) — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster wants state lawmakers to “speed up the income tax cut schedule” to allow South Carolinians to “keep even more of their own money.”

However, the push to speed up the pace of tax cuts depends on a forthcoming revenue forecast from the state Board of Economic Advisors, McMaster said during his State of the State address.

“Until a few years ago, South Carolina had the highest personal income tax rate in the southeast and the 12th highest in the nation – at 7%,” McMaster, a Republican, said, according to his prepared remarks.

“No more. Two years ago, I signed into law the largest income tax cut in state history, which will cut the rate to 6% in the next few years,” McMaster added. “Accordingly, my Executive Budget recognizes this year’s $99 million scheduled cut to the income tax rate, dropping it from 6.4% to 6.3%.”

In his speech, the governor said South Carolina’s government is in “superior fiscal shape,” with the largest rainy day reserve fund balance and the lowest general obligation debt “than at any other time in recent memory.”

“Once again, I am recommending the General Assembly put additional funds into the state’s rainy day fund – $54.3 million – so that the fund maintains a balance of $1.16 billion,” McMaster said, noting that equals “10% of this year’s General Appropriations Act.”

In a statement, Americans for Prosperity-SC State Director Candace Carroll said the governor “laid out a clear vision for yet another successful legislative year in the Palmetto State with a proposed budget that meets our growing economy’s needs.”

However, in a video response posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, state Rep. Roger Kirby, D-Florence, lamented the erosion of the “ability to have meaningful debate” and urged South Carolinians to help “rebuild a government that is of, by and for the people.”

“That’s how we restore trust in government and hope for the future,” Kirby said.

“In conclusion, we do celebrate our many successes in economic development and the economic growth heralded in the governor’s address, and we respect and appreciate our governor,” the lawmaker added. “Yet we face many daunting challenges which will require Democrats and Republicans working with unity of purpose. We can return to a time when ideas were debated and not dictated.”