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Governor Says State Workers Not Paid Enough

South Carolina’s 35,000 state workers are not paid enough, according to a study comparing their pay to others. 

That will not change for most state workers if the Legislature adopts Gov. Henry McMaster’s 2018-19 budget recommendations for the state’s fiscal year that starts July 1. 

McMaster included pay raises for only a few of the state’s 35,000 workers in his roughly $8 billion spending plan, released Monday. The budget proposal includes almost $400 million in new spending.

McMaster did, however, propose phasing in income tax cuts for all South Carolinians, allowing taxpayers to keep more of their money, he said. It is the first budget proposal by the Richland Republican since taking office last year.

“We’ve got a 6-foot bed and a 4-foot blanket,” McMaster said. “Everybody can’t get what they want at once.” 

McMaster – who faces three challengers in June’s GOP primary for governor – said now is the “right time” for tax relief for every South Carolinian.

His proposed income tax cut would be phased-in over five years, he said, resulting in about $139 million in savings in one year and about $2.2 billion over the full five years.

The cut would save taxpayers an average of between $55 and about $54,000 over the full five years, depending on their income, and reduce the state’s revenue by more than $782 million, according to the S.C. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs.

McMaster also wants to cut – to zero – the amount that nearly 38,000 retired military veterans and more than 20,000 police officers, fire fighters and other peace officers pay in state income taxes on their retirement income.

That tax cut would save the retirees $22.6 million in the first year.

The tax cuts for law enforcement, firefighters and peace officers would be about $713 a year for retirees under 65 and $102 for those 65 or older. For retired military veterans, the cuts would total about $524 a year in savings for those under 65 and $210 for those 65 and older. 

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