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State has more money to spend, but that won't end budget fights

The State | by Adam Beam | February 20, 2012

As South Carolina House budget writers begin sorting out the state's $6.3 billion general fund budget this week, lawmakers will have up to $900 million more in recurring and one-time money to spend than last year.

But the extra money doesn't mean everyone is happy.

While lawmakers won't have to fight about what to cut - three years ago, lawmakers had to cut $190 million from state programs in one week - they now will fight about which state programs to restore.

"Before it was trying to protect what you've got. Now it's trying to get what you can back. It's a lot different," said Rep. Brian White, R-Anderson, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which meets this week to compile the budget. "There's a lot of worthwhile things for this increased revenue we are experiencing, but there is not enough to go around. We've got to pick and choose wisely and put our money towards debt, infrastructure and job recruitment."

One example is $3.75 million to pay for emergency dental procedures for adults on Medicaid, the federal health insurance program administered by states for the poor and disabled.

 

 

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