House-passed S.C. budget is full of pay raises for state workers

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Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 5:02 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Thousands of South Carolinians would get pay raises under the state budget that passed the House of Representatives.

It’s a nearly $14 billion spending plan.

The entire House of Representatives was at the State House until nearly midnight Monday working through amendments and disagreements over the budget.

On Wednesday, the House officially passed the budget and sent it to the Senate.

“We started off with telling the press and people that we were going to emphasize people over programs, and that promise was made in December, and the promise was kept today as we’ve given third reading to this budget,” said Rep. Murrell Smith, House speaker.

Under the budget, public schools collectively would receive at least $260 million dollars more than they did last year.

The budget would also raise the statewide starting pay for teachers by $2,500, bringing it up to $42,500.

Also under the budget, $30 million would be spent on raising pay for state law enforcement officers.

All state employees would receive at least a 3% raise, but would be larger for those making less than $83,000 a year.

“For too many years, the House has taken care of state employees, and the Senate has, shall we say, left some room for improvement,” said Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg.

The budget also includes $450 million for road and bridge improvements.

It’s not the final budget, however.

Senators will take up the budget next month, and then the two chambers will negotiate a compromise version to send to the governor after that.