- Associated Press - Monday, January 13, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Firefighters with the state Forestry Commission would be the only South Carolina state employees to receive a cost-of-living increase under Gov. Nikki Haley’s budget proposal.

Haley’s says her 2014-15 plan released Monday gives state firefighters a 2 percent boost because they were left out of the last round specifically for law enforcement.

In the current year’s budget, only officers in maximum-security prisons received a cost-of-living increase, of 3 percent.

State employees last received across-the-board increases in 2012-13. It marked their first such salary increase in four years. Most received a 3 percent boost then, though state law enforcement officers who made less than $50,000 got a 5 percent boost.

Haley’s proposal provides $57 million to cover expected increases in state employees’ health insurance premiums, but co-payments would go up again.

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