Thousands Protest SC Budget Cuts At Statehouse

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina teachers, state employees and religious groups are calling for state budget changes to protect education and health care programs from spending cuts.

About 2,500 people rallied Saturday at the Statehouse in Columbia to ask legislators to pass what they call a moral budget.

House members begin discussing the state’s $5 billion spending plan Monday. The proposed budget reduces a $700 million deficit by slicing spending on schools, Medicaid and social programs.

Those rallying at the Statehouse suggested eliminating sales tax breaks as a way to balance the spending plan.

People who said they are part of the tea party movement watched Saturday’s rally and said taxes shouldn’t be raised to pay for Medicaid and welfare.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All rights reserved.)