COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA)- It’s July 1 which means several changes will be taking place statewide including how lawmakers decided to spend the state’s $9 billion budget.
South Carolina lawmakers finished the state’s 2019 fiscal budget in late June, with an effective date of July 1.
The budget included a four percent increase in teacher salary across the board and a two percent increase for state employees. A raise that state employees say is long overdue. A recent pay-grade study found state employees are still getting paid on a scale based on a minimum wage of $4.
Carlton Washington, the director of S.C. State Employee Association explained.
“State employees have not seen a measurable pay increase since that time. The cost of living continues to climb; electricity, food, healthcare. And it makes it very difficult for state employees to make due with the current scenario.”
The budget puts aside additional money for the state’s colleges and universities. In total, more than $140 million will go towards school maintenance and upgrades to make sure schools do not raise tuition more than one percent.
You should already be seeing an increase at the pump. An extra 2 cents will be added each year until 2022.
“The motor vehicle user fee started in July 2017 and it’s there to support sc dot’s road projects in South Carolina,” said Bonnie Swingle, with the SC Department of Revenue.
July 1 is also the date the age of a juvenile offender is raised from 17 to 18 years old.
The “Raise the Age” law passed in 2016 but time was built in for the appropriate agencies to adjust.
“When you throw an 18-year-old into an adult prison with 30 and 40 year old hardened criminals once you do that it’s kind of like no turning back,” said Senator Katrina Shealy. Shealy sits on a special legislative committee will be reviewing the change over the next few months to make sure it rolled out properly.
The gas tax is actually a law with a recurring update. However, the tuition cap, for example, is just for this year. The General Assembly will have to vote once again to include that money in the budget for July 1, 2020.
The starting salary for teachers was also raised in the budget to about $35,000.
State workers making than less than $70,000 will also get a one time $600 bonus check.