COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina legislators have given key approval to a $5 billion spending plan following a nearly 22-hour debate that focused on abortion, cigarette taxes and a loan to a golf tournament.
The House approved the budget 64-52 on Thursday morning. Another perfunctory vote was expected later Thursday to send the bill to the Senate.
The plan is down from $7 billion two years ago. It requires furloughs of state employees and is expected to lead to layoffs of teachers, state law enforcement officers, Highway Patrol troopers, public defenders and juvenile justice workers.
The plan includes a 30-cents-per-pack cigarette tax increase. That money will go into a trust fund for future Medicaid expenses.