The budget addresses the costs and potential costs of COVID-19 and funding for elections in the state.
From the Office of Sen. Nikki Setzler – South Carolina Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setzler (D-Lexington) offered the following statement after the Senate’s passing of H.5201, the General Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2020-2021:
“Today I was pleased to see the Senate come together in a bipartisan manner to pass this year’s budget. Despite still dealing with the COVID-19 emergency, and not being able to have a normal legislative session, members from both sides of the aisle worked efficiently to get this done for the people of South Carolina. The budget we passed today takes crucial measures to protect our economy, small businesses, and keep the essential services of our state up and running.
“As we have learned over the past several months, we must prepare for the unknown. The Senate was able to include a $500 million reserve fund, as well as a $70 million COVID-19 reserve, to help us do just that. These funds will be saved and utilized in the event of unforeseen budget shortfalls or unexpected costs caused by the ongoing spread of the virus.
“I’m particularly proud of funding we secured to place nurses in public schools— a necessary addition to our budget to keep children and teachers across our state safe during this pandemic. Our teachers have been working incredibly hard under unprecedented circumstances, and I’m glad that this budget includes the reinstatement of salary step increases for our educators.
“We were also able to bring direct benefits to election poll workers in order to compensate them for working during the state of emergency, as well as bring benefits to essential state employees who worked diligently to keep South Carolina running as we dealt with the spread of Coronavirus.
“These are important additions to our state’s spending plan that are the product of bipartisan collaboration over several weeks. I’m thankful for my colleagues who worked so hard to bring relief to our schools, businesses, and frontline workers.”