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SC Senate Proposed Budget Effectively Bypasses Horry County

SC Senate Proposed Budget Effectively
Bypasses Horry County

By Dennis Mitchell

The SC Senate Finance Committee budget for next fiscal year follows a similar pattern with many years past – Horry County gets crumbs while other counties around the state get the cake.

The county will receive some funding from the Department of Transportation budget and some money will come from the Department of Education for teacher salary increases. However, in the special project appropriations area, the area where earmarks for specific projects are included to help counties with capital projects, the county will receive approximately $15 million while other counties receive considerably more for their projects.

Most of the special projects money comes to Horry County from the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. The two biggest are $5 million for the Myrtle Beach Downtown revitalization project and $2 million for a multi-purpose pathway between Conway and Myrtle Beach along the rail line owned by Horry County.

With all the important road projects Horry County is facing over the next several decades, why couldn’t the county get more from the state’s nearly $2,2 billion in excess revenue available for special projects? The answer appears to be those senators representing Horry County in Columbia just don’t have the clout to get it done.

Sen. Hugh Leatherman, when he was alive, certainly got significant appropriations for Florence County. Any driver can see how Florence County benefitted over the years by traveling Hwy 378 from Horry County to Interstate 95. Once you cross the Florence County line, a two lane road becomes a very nice four lane divided highway. Horry County certainly contributes many more tax dollars to the state than Florence County but receives little back for local needs by comparison.

Horry County’s most senior senator, Luke Rankin now completing his 32nd year in the Senate, should have the influence in Columbia to bring more money back to the county. However, it seems Rankin’s influence is limited to picking judges, saving Santee Cooper from being sold to private utilities. after the proposed nuclear power station debacle, and obtaining Santee Cooper land, in a residential neighborhood, for a dog pound.

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