Haley asks panel to fix looming SC budget crisis

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Gov.-elect Nikki Haley is asking a fiscal crisis task force to come up with ideas to deal with a looming state budget crisis that could top $1 billion.

Estimates show the state's $5 billion budget faces a $1 billion hole in July and already is short more than $270 million for the current fiscal year.

The state Department of Health and Human Services said last week that it would have to shut off payments to doctors taking Medicaid for the state's elderly, disabled and poor unless the state approves plans for it to run a $228 million deficit in the current fiscal year.

Haley's group includes a former House budget committee chairman and the retired head of a state auditing agency. She wants recommendations before she takes office in January.

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