Groups call for Statehouse rally to protest budget

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Representatives of civil rights, labor, religious and professional groups want state lawmakers to stop cutting critical programs as they work to balance the South Carolina budget.

They told reporters in Charleston on Wednesday they're planning a March 12 protest rally at the Statehouse in Columbia. The representatives said they speak for as many as 1 million South Carolinians who are members of their respective groups.

Brett Bursey of the South Carolina Progressive Network says the budget shouldn't be balanced on the backs of the needy and lawmakers ignored recent recommendations of the Tax Realignment Commission.

He says new taxes aren't needed but changes in the tax code, such as eliminating the tax cap on expensive cars and yachts, could provide the dollars to balance the budget.

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