House, Senate Approve $8 Billion State Budget

The 8 billion dollar budget will add 55 million dollars to school repairs around the state and will give more than 28 million to school bus repairs.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The $8 billion state budget is now one step closer to final approval.

On Tuesday the both the House and Senate voted to approve a conference report on the budget that will increase funding for K-12 schools by $55 million.

Those funds are expected to go towards repairs to school around the state.

More than $28 million will go towards new school buses.

While the House was able to agree on the budget report fairly quickly, it stalled in the Senate.

Several senators voted to remove a proviso, or addition to the bill, that would take away the Commission on Higher Education's authority to approve non academic projects in colleges around the state.

The goal was to get the budget back to the conference committe, so funding could be added to the proposed African American History Museum in Charleston.

While there was much debate, eventually the Senate approved the bill, including the proviso, and matching the bill approved by the House.

The conference committee took three weeks to come up with a compromise to the vote. Senator Sean Bennett, who was on that committee, says he's breathing a sigh of relief now that the budget was approved.

"At the end of the day we needed to get a budget approved," says Sen. Bennett, R-Dorchester. "If we did not approve that proviso then we do have to kind of, I don't want to say we have to go back to square one, but we certainly would have to go back. There's a lot of negotiations that went forward. Every piece of the budget connects to another. So if we would've lost that piece it would've made for difficult sledding going forward."

The budget now goes to the Governor's desk to be signed.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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