Legislators fail to reach SC budget deal

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - House and Senate members have failed to agree on a budget compromise.

The budget conference committee met Friday in an attempt to pass a budget before the fiscal year starts July 1. It was its first public meeting since Monday.

The chambers remain at an impasse over a $40 million difference. The House insists on a $60 million tax break for small business owners. The Senate upped its offer by $5 million, to a $20 million break and promised to make it part of a three-year phase-in.

But House Ways and Means Chairman Brian White and Senate Finance Chairman Huge Leatherman say their chambers won't agree to anything else.

House conferees have agreed to the Senate's version on employee pay raises. Most state employees will get a 3 percent raise.