Raises for law enforcement officers and teachers

Last Wednesday, the tax relief bill I cosponsored passed the House 110-0, which is indicative of a good bill that both Democrats and Republicans supported with a common goal: to make South Carolina a better place to work, live, and raise a family.

The bill cuts taxes in South Carolina by $1 billion, putting $600 million back in the pockets of South Carolinians in the first year.

We were able to lower that effective tax rate to 2.54 percent, with a new simplified two-rate income tax system. Our current system includes 6 different complex and outdated tax brackets, but our plan collapses those brackets into just two rates.

We’ve focused on finding the best ways to use our state’s surplus funds, the federal American Rescue Plan Act funding, and dollars we’ve received for infrastructure projects. Throughout this process, my goal has remained the same -- to provide the best benefit for taxpayers while prioritizing resourcefulness and funding the core functions of state government.

Last week, I voted to designate millions of dollars to improve, expand and repair the condition of our state’s infrastructure, such as roads, highways, interstates, bridges, sewer, and broadband access.

The budget bill incorporates needed raises for law enforcement officers, teachers, and state employees.

It’s imperative that we recruit and retain law enforcement officers. To accomplish this, we’re increasing the base salary by 17 percent, making salaries competitive with local municipalities and surrounding southeastern states.

South Carolina is facing an unprecedented teacher shortage, only to be made worse by pandemic conditions. More and more teachers are leaving the profession, so to help mitigate this, we are increasing the minimum salary across all levels by $4,000 and raising the starting teacher salary from $36,000 to $40,000.

Our state employees have always been a huge asset. They continued to work hard and face the challenges that this pandemic brought. In the budget bill, we have recognized their hard work and dedication by including a 3 percent across the board pay raise -- the largest pay increase in six years – and a $1,500 bonus for all state employees.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to represent District 108 in the House. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Rep. Lee Hewitt

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