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The Latest: SC Democrats can work with gov if he helps poor

January 24, 2019
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South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster greets lawmakers after delivering the State of the State address at the South Carolina Statehouse, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster’s State of the State speech (all times local):

7:55 p.m.

Democratic state Sen. John Scott says his party wants to work with Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, but only if the governor realized the GOP’s policies are leaving too many people behind.

Scott gave the Democratic response to McMaster’s State of the State address Wednesday.

The senator from Columbia pointed out that while small parts and select people in the state prosper, there are still wide tracts of poverty.

Scott says one of every three jobs in South Carolina pays less than $25,000 a year and many are part-time jobs without benefits.

Scott says Republicans hurt poor working families by not taking federal money to expand Medicaid.

Scott says state workers have suffered too with years of increasing benefit costs and no raises or paltry increases that didn’t even cover the increasing cost of living.

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7:05 p.m.

Gov. Henry McMaster says South Carolina must fix its education system if it wants continued growth and prosperity.

McMaster’s newfound commitment to education in Wednesday’s State of the State speech wasn’t a new development.

The governor promised education reform in his inauguration speech two weeks ago and put money in his budget proposal last week for teacher raises, a small increase in across-the-board funding and a $100 million fund to bring business to the most-disadvantaged school systems.

McMaster says he will sign any wholesale education reforms supported by fellow Republicans House Speaker Jay Lucas and state Sen. Greg Hembree.

McMaster also said there would never be offshore drilling in South Carolina and pledged to give $200 million in extra money in this year’s budget back as refunds to taxpayers.

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