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NC Senate gives tentative OK to budget bill

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The North Carolina Senate has given tentative approval to a state government spending plan for next year that Democrats claim will harm public education and health care programs for the poor.

The GOP-controlled chamber voted Wednesday along party lines in favor of a two-year, nearly $20 billion budget.

It is designed to attract enough Democratic support in the House to turn back a potential veto by Gov. Beverly Perdue. Republicans hope to have it on her desk by this weekend.

Democrats in the Senate opposed the measure.

Republicans argue they've mitigated reductions in public schools and restored funding for teaching assistant jobs and for more teachers in the early grades.

A final Senate vote is expected Thursday.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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