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SC budget includes 3% state employee raise, but no vaccine lottery

The South Carolina State House in Columbia.
The South Carolina State House in Columbia.(WCSC/WIS)
Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 10:49 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - The state spending plan heading to the South Carolina House floor next week offers state employees a 3% raise and teachers a $1,000 bump in pay.

The House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday approved a nearly $11 billion state budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The spending plan includes money the state didn’t spend this budget year because lawmakers feared a more serious economic downturn in the COVID-19 pandemic.

One issue the committee decided should be taken up next week by the whole House is a proposal to offer a $1 million lottery prize to people who get a COVID-19 vaccine.

While some Democratic lawmakers called on South Carolina to create a lottery program to entice people to get vaccinated, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster said last week such a lottery would be unnecessary.

“South Carolinians have been given all available information about the vaccine and that is all they need in order to make this decision,” McMaster’s spokesman, Brian Symmes said.

Symmes said the governor believes “the lure of a lottery jackpot is irresponsible and a poor use of taxpayer dollars.”

Ohio’s Vax-a-Million vaccination program awarded the first $1 million prize and the first full-ride college scholarship last week.

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