SC statewide elected officials could get first pay raise since 1994 through this bill

Joseph Bustos
·2 min read

South Carolina’s attorney general, education chief and other statewide elected leaders could get a pay bump for the first time since 1994 under a new proposal that would give lawmakers more control over how much they earn.

Under a state House proposal, any pay raises for the attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer, agricultural commissioner and superintendent of education — known as constitutional officers — would have to be based on recommendations by the joint House and Senate Agency Head Salary Commission, which recently increased minimum salaries for 26 agency heads in order to remain competitive with other states.

The House proposal calls for the salary commission to recommend a salary range for each statewide elected official beginning in the 2022-23 fiscal year. The commission would then recommend to the General Assembly the pay for each constitutional officer, with the new salaries taking effect at the start of their next term.

Statewide officials are up for reelection in November 2022.

The governor, who earns $106,000 a year, and the lieutenant governor, who earns $46,500, were excluded from the bill.

Their salaries along with other statewide elected officials are set in state statute.

All other statewide elected officials earn $92,000 a year.

“The governor and lieutenant governor have asked not to be included so that their salaries would remain the same since they were in office (and) are not looking for additional compensation while they’re here,” said state Rep. Bruce Bannister, R-Greenville.

Under the bill, the Agency Head Salary Commission would also study salary ranges for each statewide elected official every four years that would include looking at how much other states pay their statewide elected leaders.

That study would cost $26,000, according to state documents.

“Our other constitutional officers would want the record to reflect that they also are not real interested in having salaries change while they’re in office,” said state Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg. “But it’s got to happen at some point.”