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South Carolina task force faces challenges solving $1.8 billion mystery – Davidson News

As South Carolinians eagerly await answers about the mysterious $1.8 billion lurking in state coffers, the prospects of a windfall appear increasingly unlikely. A task force diligently appointed by Governor Henry McMaster has been tasked with the herculean task of tracking down the source of this vast sum, but obstacles abound.

The South Carolina task force faces challenges solving a $1.8 billion mystery

The account's origins date back to 2017, when it served as a clearinghouse during the transition to a new accounting system. However, a staggering $1.5 billion remained unclaimed, eventually growing to $1.8 billion in seemingly “homeless” cash.

There is a lot of speculation about how this amount will be used. Some argue for tax refunds, others suggest funding for neglected institutions like South Carolina State University. However, the task force faces a daunting challenge: determining whether the funds are truly surplus or whether they have already been earmarked for specific purposes.

Former Rep. Kirkman Finlay joins many in making the case for tax refunds as a solution to inflation problems, while U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn sees an opportunity to address historic underfunding of education. But as State Senator Larry Grooms warns, the money may already be awarded and distributed among various agencies, trust accounts and investment pools.

Additionally, the specter of federal entanglement looms, and there are fears that interest income, if generated from federal dollars, may have to be reimbursed. This complexity requires a careful forensic review, for which budget writers have proposed an allocation of $4.2 million.

Despite urgent calls for action, the path forward remains unclear. With legal obligations potentially precluding any profit, South Carolina finds itself in a financial conundrum of unprecedented proportions. As the task force tries to solve this mystery, taxpayers' hopes of getting a share of the $1.8 billion mystery are dwindling with each passing day.

Anna Harden

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