S.C. House budget writers did not include a pay raise for state employees in their first draft of the state’s roughly $8 billion general fund budget.
However, members of the S.C. House Ways and Means Committee did approve paying for employees’ increased health insurance costs.
Last year, lawmakers approved the largest pay raise in a decade for state employees – a 3.25 percent increase. But, in four of the last 10 years, state employees did not get a raise.
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State Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, pushed for a 1.5 percent pay raise for employees, but that effort was defeated.
"All of us really appreciate the state employees and jobs they do," said Ways and Means chairman Brian White, R-Anderson.
But, he said, other demands — including spending money to shore up the state’s pension system — did not leave money for a pay raise.
White said it costs roughly $18 million for a 1 percent pay raise for state employees.
"All of us would agree that our state employees are worth $18 million," Cobb-Hunter said.