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Senate Democrats agree to keep "temporary" tax for another month

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RALEIGH (AP) -- Senate Democrats have agreed to keep a "temporary" sales tax on the books for at least another month.

That removes the major obstacle for a stopgap spending bill to keep most of state government running past this weekend.

The House and Senate have been at odds over whether to allow a quarter-penny sales tax to expire Sunday. There's also controversy over a higher income tax rate for the highest wage-earners that will sunset at the end of the year.

The taxes were approved during the 2001 economic recession to fill a budget shortfall.

Passing a budget before the July First deadline isn't likely, so lawmakers have been focusing on a resolution that would keep state government largely at current spending levels.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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