COLUMBIA -- A tweak in the state's incentive pay program for South Carolina's job recruiters will encourage them to land more deals in rural areas, Gov. Nikki Haley said Thursday.

The state Department of Commerce is expected to spend $70,000 in 2012 to reward nine staff members if they hit the agency's annual goals for capital investment and overall job creation, as well new targets in rural job creation, Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt said.

The plan was approved by a 4-1 vote of the Budget and Control Board. Treasurer Curtis Loftis voted against the plan, because he didn't think the staff should get the pay until the jobs are actually created, not just announced.

"The average South Carolinian just can't get paid that way," Loftis said.

Haley said the change to the incentive pay program, established in 1998, will help shift some emphasis on economic development out of the state's cities.

"This is so much at the heart of what Director Hitt and I are trying to do," she said.

So far this year, economic development deals have been announced in about 30 of the state's 46 counties.