Politics & Government

Sanford releases proposed spending plan

Gov. Mark Sanford released his final proposed state spending plan Tuesday, one that avoids cutting days from the school calendar as some lawmakers have suggested.

But all state employees earning more than $35,000 a year would take a 5 percent pay cut, doctors and hospitals would be paid less to treat patients in the state-run Medicaid program, and colleges and universities would have to cut $100 million from their budgets.

Sanford's proposed budget also would carve out $10 million in money for a new highway trooper class, additional money for job recruitment and $7.9 million to buy and preserve land.

What impact Sanford's proposal will have on the state's looming budget debate is unknown. Legislators return to Columbia next week and will have to cut between $800 million and $1 billion from state spending for the year that starts July 1.

Gov.-elect Nikki Haley, a Lexington Republican and onetime Sanford protégé, takes office Jan. 12. Haley has said that, unlike Sanford, she will not propose a budget for the state, relying instead on negotiations with legislators to convey her spending priorities.

Sanford, who is term-limited and leaves office next week, said the budget is one last chance to lay out his priorities for state government.

"We know we'll be gone and other folks will have other ideas," Sanford said, but added he wanted to "lay out what you believe and then people react to it."

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