Senators to begin deciding how to spend $7 billion
The S.C. Senate will begin debating the nearly $7 billion state general fund budget when senators meet at 1:30 p.m. at the State House. S.C. colleges and technical schools will be among those watching this week the fate of a borrowing proposal that was sponsored by state Sen. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence. The proposal emerged after a borrowing plan was defeated in the S.C. House during its budget week. Republican Gov. Nikki Haley pressured House members to defeat it.
Senators will decide this week spending state taxpayer dollars for:
K-12 education: Senators on the Finance Committee approved increasing the amount schools receive per student by $100 to $2,220. While far less than state law says schools should get, it is the same amount the S.C. House approved and would add $94 million to the state budget.
State employees’ pay raise? All state employees would not get a pay raise in the Finance Committee-approved budget. However, like the House, senators approved paying the full cost of higher health insurance premiums for state workers. That cost, roughly $35 million, is the roughly the same as including a 2 percent pay raise in the budget.
Police body cameras: Senators approved spending $3.4 million for 2,000 body cameras for police officers and the equipment needed to store videos digitally.