General fund spending plan moves to House vote

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina legislators have approved a $5.2 billion state general fund budget that cuts spending on Medicaid, public schools and colleges.

      The approval on a voice vote Thursday sends the budget to the House floor for debate March 15.

      The measure's approval came after the Department of Health and Human Services slashed $230 million from an initial request of what it said was needed to keep the state's Medicaid programs running. About $125 million of that is tied to paying doctors and hospitals less to care for the state's elderly, disabled and poor.

      Public schools would lose at least $74 million and colleges more than $16 million.

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