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State revenue forecast bumped to $7.9B as economy fires ‘on all cylinders’

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Staff Report
colanews@scbiznews.com
Published Nov. 11, 2015

The S.C. Board of Economic Advisors has bumped the state’s revenue forecast by $343.1 million to $7.9 billion for the current fiscal year, chairman Chad Walldorf said Tuesday.

In addition, the board issued a preliminary General Fund revenue estimate of more than $8.2 billion for fiscal 2016-17, or a growth of 4.8%. This forecast is mostly based on continued personal income and employment growth, key economic factors which account for 85% of the total General Fund revenue, a release said.

“Our state’s economy continues to fire on all cylinders,” Walldorf said. “As a result of strong employment growth and increased consumer spending, the state General Fund continues to benefit from higher income and sales tax collections.”

The current fiscal year increase was made because of higher-than-expected revenue collections at the end of the prior fiscal year, which have continued through the first four months of the current one. Through February, revenue grew at a steady annual rate of 2.1% and in the last four months increased sharply to 6%. This created a $131.4 million surplus in 2014-15 over revised projections, the board said.

The board met with regional economists prior to making its forecast in order to develop an expectation on key economic factors. In doing so, the board now projects a personal income growth of 5.25% for the current fiscal year and an employment growth of 2%.

In 2016-17, it anticipates personal income to decrease to 4.9% and employment growth to remain consistent at 1.9%.

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