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Bond Bill: An Investment for All of South Carolina

South Carolina’s neighbors have invested billions of dollars in higher education infrastructure over the past decade. Meanwhile, buildings on South Carolina campuses are crumbling. A bond bill will help USC and other colleges and universities throughout the state remain competitive.

What is a “bond bill”? A bond bill for education is a piece of state legislation that, if passed, will provide funds for capital projects at educational institutions throughout the state. Major capital improvements and building projects have a profound and lasting impact, so it makes sense that their costs are spread out over many years. Paying for projects with a bond is not like using a credit card for everyday expenses, but is instead similar to a home mortgage — an investment in the future.

Infrastructure matters. In order to retain the state’s best and brightest students, recruit top students from across the nation and attract world-class faculty members, our colleges and universities must have up-to-date facilities. A bond will help finance a new home for the aging USC School of Medicine, serving as the cornerstone for a future health sciences research campus. It also allows USC and other institutions across the state to make much-needed improvements to existing facilities. That means better classrooms, laboratories and academic support facilities for students.

A smart way to invest. A capital improvement bond offers South Carolina the opportunity to renew our commitment to education in a way that’s financially prudent. Importantly, a bond protects the state’s AAA credit rating, does not raise taxes on our state’s residents and requires no additional general fund appropriations. Approving a bond now also means South Carolina can take advantage of borrowing rates that are near historic lows.

Long overdue. The last capital improvement bond issue was in 2001. Prior to that, the General Assembly issued bonds about every other year. In the 17 years since the last comprehensive bond issue, state educational facilities have deteriorated, and some are in desperate need of renovations and upgrades.