SC budget problem could grow to $1.6B

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina's budget problems will likely get worse.

The director of the Office of State Budget said Thursday keeping up with the state's current obligations would add $567 million to the state's $1 billion budget gap.

Since July, $1 billion has been cut from state spending and the budget has fallen to $6.1 billion.

Les Boles says state revenue is $80 million lower than a year ago. Meanwhile the state would have to find $152 million to keep up with obligations to schools, $127 million for current Medicaid programs and $50 million for prison and juvenile justice system shortfalls.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Cooper says the state likely won't even consider addressing about half those spending demands. The rest will mean reaching deeper into existing agency budgets.

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