Senate Finance advances $7B budget plan, $236M in borrowing

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Senate’s budget-writing committee has advanced a budget package that includes borrowing $236 million, mostly for college construction.

Senate Finance voted 16-5 Wednesday on the bond proposal. Senate President Pro Tem Hugh Leatherman said it breaks down to $91 million for technical colleges, $131 million for universities and $15 million for National Guard armories.

Gov. Nikki Haley has already pledged to veto any borrowing proposal.

But supporters say it addresses long-overdue maintenance and building needs without raising taxes. The state’s borrowing costs would still decrease because old debt is being paid off. The state’s last such bond bill was 15 years ago.

The committee separately advanced a $7 billion spending plan for state taxes that includes fully funding the Department of Social Services’ request to hire 262 additional employees.