Sheheen, Haley meet in final gubernatorial debate

FLORENCE, SC (WIS) - Democrat Vincent Sheheen and Republican Nikki Haley met Tuesday in the final debate before South Carolina voters decide who will be the next governor, one day after their clash over the loss of teaching jobs in South Carolina.

The third debate of the campaign was at Francis Marion University in Florence. Monday's debate was broadcast statewide by South Carolina Educational Television, and a debate last week was broadcast by Upstate station WSPA.

Sheheen said Monday the state must invest more in colleges and early childhood education as the economy improves. Haley said the state must ask businesses and faith-based groups to do more, from providing preschool to stocking public libraries.

Haley argued Monday that a bloated education agency is to blame for teachers losing jobs amid the recession. The House member argues teachers were laid off because lawmakers didn't appropriately cut administration in the Education Department.

Democratic contender Sen. Vincent Sheheen says that sounds great, but it's misleading.

Lawmakers have cut the agency's budget more than 40 percent in two years. Superintendent Jim Rex says the agency has reduced its staff by 200 employees. Four percent of all state and federal education money goes to the agency.

Both candidates say they hope to overhaul the state's tax system. Sheheen says he's the only candidate to have offered legislation to do that. Haley pointed out Sheheen's bill was not approved by lawmakers.

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