by John Steinberger | August 28, 2019 2:44 pm
West Ashley State Representatives Leon Stavrinakis and Lin Bennett both predicted that higher teacher pay will be a key agenda item in the 2020 session of the South Carolina General Assembly. They were the featured speakers at the West Ashley James Island Business Association (WAJIBA) meeting at Bessinger’s Wednesday. In 2019, teacher pay was increased 5% on average and 10% for first-year teachers. Stavrinakis said the pay increases were crucial to recruiting and retaining teachers in South Carolina.
Bennett also wants to see more high school students receive apprenticeship opportunities and get more information about career paths that don’t involve four-year college. She cited the high earnings potential for truck drivers, electricians, plumbers and others in the skilled trades. She asked, “Have any of you had to pay a plumber lately?” She said the House and Senate are negotiating other education reform proposals that have already cleared the House.
Stavrinakis serves on the Ways and Means Committee, which writes the state budget and tax policies. Bennett is hopeful that tax reform legislation is passed in 2020 which would lower the state sales tax from 6% to 3% and the personal income tax from 7% (highest rate among Southern states) to 4%. Both reductions could be enacted by repealing existing sales tax exemptions. The legislature reconvenes on January 14.
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