The S.C. House’s budget panel unanimously approved a proposed solution Thursday to the state’s ailing pension system, which is roughly $20 billion in debt.
The full S.C. House could consider the plan as soon as next week.
The plan would raise the amount deducted from the paychecks of public-sector workers for their retirement to 9 percent of their wages, up from 8.7 percent, and cap it at that level.
Meanwhile, S.C. House budget writers are considering putting an added $160 million into the pension system. That money, from the state’s $8 billion general fund budget, would pay up to half of the higher contributions that public-sector employers — including cities, counties and schools — will have to pay into the pension system.
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If the pension system bailout plan is approved, those public-sector employers, financed by taxpayers, would start paying 13.6 percent of each employee’s pay toward their retirement costs starting on July 1. That rate — now 11.6 percent — would increase to 18.6 percent over the next six years.
Lawmakers propose to pay the full added costs of employer contributions for state agencies in the budget.