House approves state budget, nixes across-the-board raises for state employees

House approves state budget, nixes across-the-board raises for state employees
The South Carolina House rejected proposals to give across-the-board raises to state employees Tuesday. (Source: WCSC/WIS)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/WIS/AP) - The South Carolina House has rejected proposals to give across-the-board raises to state employees.

The House approved the state’s $10 billion budget Tuesday.

The spending plan provides $42 million for state employees raises, but allows agency leaders to give them out as they wish.

Democrats say that isn’t fair. Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter of Orangeburg proposed an amendment to raise pay for state employees 5%, which would cost about $63 million. That was voted down so she proposed another amendment to raise pay by 2.5%.

Both were rejected by a vote of almost all the House’s 80 Republicans.

“The purpose of the way we’ve done it is to give the agency flexibility to address those needs where they believe they are most prevalent,” Republican Rep. Bruce Bannister of Greenville said. “I know we’re not taking care of everybody. This isn’t a 5 to 7 across the board percent raise.”

Supporters of the merit-based raises say the state’s Department of Administration is taking a look at the best way to improve salaries for state employees, so more raises could be on the horizon.

The budget does include a $3,000 raise for all teachers, and some Democrats warned state employees may feel especially shunned and take action.

Copyright 2020 WCSC/WIS. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.