State employees will not get a bonus in the state budget that takes effect July 1.
S.C. budget negotiators did not include a possible one-time bonus in their final compromise spending plan, passed Wednesday.
Legislators already had nixed a idea of a pay raise for state workers, saying taxpayers couldn’t afford it when they already are paying all the cost of state workers’ higher health insurance premiums and injecting about $150 million into the ailing pension system that pays retirement benefits to state employees.
The fiscal year that starts July 1 will be the fifth in the last 10 when state workers did not get a pay hike. Last year, legislators approved a 3.25 percent pay hike for state employees — the largest in a decade.
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Some criminal justice employees will get a bonus.
For example, the budget deal includes spending $5 million raise for a $1,000 pay raise for state Corrections officers and about $500,000 for a $750 raise for Juvenile Justice officers. As with some other state departments, the state’s prisons systems have had difficulty filling vacancies, in part because of their low pay.
Other state spending included:
▪ About $60 million to increase the amount SC schools get based on enrollment to $2,425 per student
▪ $35 million to ETV to pay for facilities projects over the next several years, including building improvements and transmission tower upgrades. The money comes from S.C. ETV’s sale of airwave space associated with its station in the Greenville market to the Federal Communication Commission. The FCC then sold space freed up by networks nationwide — including ETV’s Greenville capacity, which fetched $43.2 million — to wireless and telecommunication companies, hungry for capacity.
▪ $12 million for S.C. colleges, including $2 million for the University of South Carolina
▪ $10 million for the state’s underfunded Local Government Fund