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NC budget negotiations now begin in earnest

RALEIGH (AP) ó Budget negotiations now will begin in earnest after the Senate gave final approval to its own spending plan for state government.
The Senate voted 31-14 on Thursday in favor of the $21.4 billion proposal to adjust the second year of the two-year budget beginning July 1. The House agreed to its own plan two weeks ago.
Senate and House members now will try to get a compromise final budget passed and to Gov. Mike Easley before the end of the month.
The competing plans differ in overall spending by $15 million. But there are differences in where money should be spent.
The Senate shifted more funds to higher education, while the House provided more to expand health care for children in low-income families.

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