Compromise spending plan would slightly grow state budget

South Carolina legislators expect to take up the final compromise version of a the state's spending plan that cuts Medicaid spending and gives businesses an unemployment tax break.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- South Carolina's budget could grow slightly from last year's under a compromise plan legislators expect to take up.

Debate is taking place Wednesday after a House and Senate conference committee signed the final budget deal.

The House narrowly approved the compromise with a 57-54 vote Wednesday morning. The Senate still has to approve the final compromise before it gets sent to the governor.

The conference committee budget totals $21.9 billion. $5.5 billion of that budget comes from the general fund. $8.4 billion comes from federal funds. $8 billion come from other funds, typically fines and fees. The 2010-11 budget totaled $21.8 billion.

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Despite the slight increase in overall spending, the budget plan locks in reductions in state Medicaid spending that include reducing payments to doctors and hospitals by at least $125 million. Critics say that threatens jobs and care for the elderly, disabled and poor.

The proposed budget also gives $146 million in a bailout to businesses who complained that their unemployment taxes were too high. The state's jobless benefits trust fund went broke in 2009 and needed federal loans after years of business tax breaks . Businesses were billed to repay the loans.

Click here to see an agency by agency breakdown of the budget.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)