Budget debate starts in SC Senate Finance

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The South Carolina Senate is focusing on the budget this week.

Budget deliberations are set to begin Tuesday in the full Finance Committee following weeks of subcommittee hearings.

The House approved in March its $6.3 billion spending plan for state taxes. Its proposal for the fiscal year that starts July 1 includes money to fix some bridges with weight restrictions, hire dozens of law enforcement officers and upgrade security at state prisons.

A separate measure distributes $113 million from this year's rainy day fund. That plan for one-time money includes $20 million to cover the Department of Revenue's loan for clean-up costs following last fall's massive theft of taxpayers' personal data.

House Republicans repeatedly rejected Democrats' attempts during budget debate to expand Medicaid eligibility under the federal health care law.