Gaffney, SC

State Senate prepares to debate $12.6 billion budgetFree Access

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Senate is getting ready to debate its version of the state’s $12.6 billion spending plan.

The budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year is built around $1 billion in income tax rebates and another $1 billion in cuts, compared with the $600 income million tax cut proposed by the House.

That leaves two big differences with the House plan. The Senate budget removes a $1,500 one-time bonus for state employees, with supporters saying the tax cut and rebate will provide similar help to their wallets.

The Senate also only guarantees to raise the minimum pay for new teachers to $38,000, while the House sets the new minimum at $40,000.

Several teacher groups and Gov, Henry McMaster are asking the Senate to go ahead and raise the minimum pay to $40,000, saying South Carolina is falling further behind states like Mississippi in starting pay for teachers while classroom vacancies go unfilled.

The Senate debate is expected to begin Tuesday. After the Senate passes its version, a small group of lawmakers from both chambers will likely negotiate the differences between the budget plans and suggested tax cuts later this spring.

The House’s spending plan is $1.3 billion more than the Senate’s because of the smaller tax cut proposal.

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