- Associated Press - Thursday, April 21, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The Latest on budget negotiations in the South Carolina Senate Finance Committee (all times local):

5:40 p.m.

A Senate committee has passed a budget that gives a bigger raise to state employees.

The Finance Committee approved its $7.5 billion spending plan for next budget year Thursday afternoon.

The proposal gives state employees a 4 percent raise, double the 2 percent pay hike in the House plan. The Senate plan also gives teachers a 2 percent raise and raises the minimum amount teachers can be paid by years of experience by 2 percent

The Senate budget also uses $200 million a year to borrow more than $2 billion for the state roads over the next decade.

Education funding is increased by more than $300 million in the Senate plan, which also sets aside an additional $2.4 million for police body cameras.


11:30 a.m.

South Carolina senators plan to propose a 4 percent raise for state employees in their version of the state budget.

The House suggested a 2 percent raise.

The Senate Finance Committee’s version of the state’s $7.5 billion spending plan has more money to spend because instead of using current revenues to get more money toward roads, senators are considering borrowing more than $2 billion.

Lawmakers from both chambers also plan to cover $28 million worth of rapidly rising health care premiums for state employees.

Columbia Democratic Sen. John Scott says employees deserve extra money after getting only two raises and a bonus since 2008.

In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, the State Employees Association asked for a 5 percent raise, saying they deserve to be treated fairly.

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