SC could change law on local government funding

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - After several years of not funding local governments at the level state law requires, South Carolina legislators are looking to change the law.

The chairman of a House Ways and Means study panel said Thursday the goal is to come up with a funding method that reflects the economic conditions of the time. Rep. Jim Merrill of Charleston says being bound by an arbitrary number makes no sense.

A 1991 state law mandates that cities and counties receive 4.5 percent of the previous year's tax collections. The money's meant to cover the cost of state mandates.

But legislators have not followed that law since 2008, when the "local government fund" reached a high of $280 million. After several years of cuts, it's back up to $213 million this year.