A nearly $8 billion general fund budget drawn up by South Carolina House budget writers this week does not feature a pay raises for state employees.
The State newspaper reports members of the House Ways and Means Committee did try to cover an increase in the costs for health insurance in the budget plan it approved on Thursday. The budget now goes to the House floor for full debate next month.
State Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, asked for a 1.5 percent pay raise for employees, but her proposal was not adopted.
Employees received 3.25 percent increase last year, the largest that lawmakers approved for them in a decade. In 4 of the last 10 years, state employees have not received a raise. Budget analysts estimate it would cost the state around $18 million for a 1 percent pay raise.
Ways and Means Chairman Brian White, R-Anderson, told the newspaper that he appreciates state employees and the jobs they do but other demands strained the budget — including spending money to fix the state’s pension system, which has a $24 billion gap between what it’s future retirees and what it has on hand.