How the 2019 budget proposal affects South Carolina

On Feb. 12, President Donald Trump released the 2019 budget proposal, which would increase spending on the military and social programs, but would cut spending to the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Education.

The 2019 budget will increase the defense budget to $716 billion, allocate $25 billion into border security for the next two years, provide $17 billion to combat the opioid crisis and invest $1.5 trillion into infrastructure over the next ten years.

In addition, the budget includes a $200 billion investment into the infrastructure in order to create $1.5 trillion of improvements. The budget is estimated to cost $4.4 trillion dollars and add $7.2 trillion to the national deficit.

The federal budget will have mixed effects on South Carolina and on specifically the Charleston area. The increase in infrastructure spending includes $50 billion to rural improvements, which will benefit S.C. due to its mostly rural state.

In addition, the budget allocates money for the construction of Interstate 73, which people in South Carolina’s Department of Transportation have been lobbying for a while.

The increased military spending will also benefit the state because more soldiers will be in Fort Jackson and more Marines on Parris Island. The greater number of military personnel will boost local economies as they shop at local establishments.

Smaller benefits to South Carolina would include $6.9 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund, which can help with hurricane relief on S.C.’s coast, and $41 million to end the opioid epidemic. In South Carolina, 616 people died of opioid-related overdoses, and so the increase to combat the epidemic would benefit citizens of the state.

However, the budget could also hurt South Carolina parks, education and housing. For parks, the budget slashes Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a fund that pays for the upkeep of parks, water sources and natural resources, by 90 percent. South Carolina uses funding from the LWCF to pay for land acquisition, protection of watersheds and recreation facilities projects, and will be hurt by the cuts.

The budget also emphasizes school choice and reduces funding for the Department of Education. South Carolina is ranked last in education according to a US News survey, and will feel the cuts as reduced funding for public schools. The budget could also hurt housing in South Carolina by reducing funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development by 44 percent. Housing in the state will suffer cuts for capital repairs to government housing.

 

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