Advisers' forecast gives legislators no surplus for budget

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - State economic forecasters expect no extra money coming into South Carolina's primary coffers, giving legislators less to haggle over as the chambers negotiate a final spending plan.

The Board of Economic Advisors made no changes Thursday to its general fund revenue forecast for this fiscal year or next. That puts into question $40 million worth of spending the Senate added during floor debate earlier this month on the chance collections would exceed prior estimates.

Advisers did increase estimates for lottery profits by $35 million, partly because of a recent flurry of Powerball ticket sales. However, state law limits that spending to college scholarships and education programs.

Legislators will try over the next two weeks to agree to a state spending plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

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