Recommendations from S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster for how to spend a second round of coronavirus pandemic relief funding include using $450 million to replenish the state’s unemployment trust fund and spending $45 million on grants for small businesses and nonprofits that did not receive federal Paycheck Protection Program loans.
McMaster made the recommendations for $763 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds in a letter (.pdf) to the General Assembly on Wednesday.
“As you are aware, the AccelerateSC task force conducted a thorough review of the CARES Act and made expenditure reimbursement recommendations for COVID-19 prevention efforts, and for measures for returning our state’s economic engines to full speed,” the governor wrote.
McMaster also recommended $50 million be disbursed to public school districts and charter schools to help with pandemic-related reopening costs; $93 million to aid in pandemic relief efforts by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Medical University of South Carolina; and $125 million to reimburse state and local agencies and public higher education institutions with verifiable pandemic-related expenses.
“Thank you for your leadership and willingness to collaborate, cooperate and communicate on the COVID-19 pandemic,” McMaster wrote. “Working together, I am confident that our state will recover and return stronger and more prosperous than ever.”
South Carolina’s unemployment insurance program is funded by the state’s unemployment trust fund. The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce told state lawmakers earlier this year that the fund had shrunk from $1.1 billion pre-pandemic to $685.5 million, with projections showing the fund would run out of money by the end of 2020. An allocation of federal pandemic funding in June disbursed $500,000 to the fund.
In a statement, the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce commended McMaster “for recognizing that thousands of our state’s very small businesses, including sole proprietors, were not able to receive the Paycheck Protection Program loans to help them survive the COVID-19 recession. Over 63,000 PPP loans were made in South Carolina, but there are over 400,000 small businesses in the state.”o