Gov. Nikki Haley has sent a list of recommended budget changes to House lawmakers, including asking state employees to pay a larger share of their health insurance.
If the House adopts Haley's recommendation, employees would have to shift $16 million from their pay checks to cover the increased cost of health insurance.
The House began its week-long deliberation on a $5.2 billion state spending plan Monday morning.
"As the taxpayer already picks up over 70 percent of a State employee's health care coverage, I believe those receiving the benefit should pay for the increase," Haley wrote in a letter to House lawmakers delivered this morning.
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A State newspaper analysis showed that state employees out-of-pocket share of health care premiums was about the national average of 30 percent, according to Kaiser Family Foundation data.
Haley also asked lawmakers to eliminate $5 million earmarked to create an aviation research center at the University of South Carolina -- similar to an automotive research facility affiliated with Clemson University -- to support Boeing's Lowcountry manufacturing efforts. Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt believed the project was premature, Haley wrote. Haley also targeted the entire Arts Commission budget of $1.9 million, cutting $1.2 million to pay for lobbyists at publicly-funded agencies and eliminating $1 million to fund the 2012 presidential primary.
"Political parties have sufficient fundraising ability to offset the costs of partisan presidential preference primaries...something I believe does not rise to the level of a core function of government," Haley wrote.Lawmakers have funded the primaries in the past to ensure state election officials provide proper oversight.