State economists added $210 million to South Carolina's ongoing budget debate Thursday, saying state revenues are stronger than expected as more people head back to work.
The Senate is in the midst of finishing its third week debating a $5.9 billion spending plan, with Tea Party-minded senators slowing debate on Thursday as they argued in favor of reducing the size of the bill and sending money back to taxpayers.
The three-member Board of Economic Advisors panel was split in their view of the state's recovery from the Great Recession. Greenville hospital executive Howell Clyborne said he was concerned state revenues would not continue to grow at the 5 percent rate they have so far this year.
"It still seems flat in a lot of places," he said. "A lot of friends say it is just nowhere still."
But BEA chairman Chad Walldorf, Gov. Nikki Haley's appointee, was more bullish, seeing signs coastal construction is rebounding.
"Some things that have been dormant for a while are moving again," Walldorf said.