State employees will get a 2 percent pay raise, money for local governments will be preserved and 4-year-old kindergarten will expand in a budget compromise that the House passed and the Senate agreed to on Wednesday.
The deal comes a day before lawmakers go home for the year. Lawmakers plan to return on June 17 to take up Nikki Haley’s budget vetoes, which she can do by line. The budget takes effect July 1.
Budget Highlights:• The deal included a $12,000 annual raise for lawmakers that the Senate added, but legislators can opt-out of the additional allowance if they choose. No new money is allocated for the raise, but the money would have to be found within the existing budget.
• The 4k expansion is $20 million, which is about $4 million less than the Senate had added. The expansion will include districts with a poverty index of 70 percent or greater.
• The budget includes a 2 percent state employee pay raise. However, the compromise did away with the Senate's one-time $300 bonus.
• The compromise gives local governments the same amount of money as last year at $213 million.
• The House budget keeps the Senate amendment that punishes the College of Charleston and University of South Carolina Upstate for assigning gay-themed books. The provision forces the schools to spend the price of the books -- $52,000 from the College of Charleston and $17,000 from USC Upstate -- on teaching the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Federalist papers, “including the study of and devotion to American institutions and ideals.”
• Adds 15 total new Department of Natural Resources law enforcement officers at $1.2 million