By SEANNA ADCOX
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A bi-partisan group of South Carolina senators is advocating a 5 percent cost-of-living raise for state employees.
Republican Sen. John Courson of Columbia said Thursday it's time to say 'thank you' by passing a budget that increases paychecks starting in July.
Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setzler says many employees' take-home pay has actually declined since the Great Recession, due to increased health care costs and pension contributions.
The proposal's $75 million price tag would cover agencies funded by state taxes. The cost for agencies funded by other sources is unclear.
Last fall, employees making less than $100,000 received a one-time, $800 bonus. Otherwise, employees have received two across-the-board raises in seven years.
According to the State Employees Association about 75 percent of state employees make less than $40,000 annually.