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Easley signs $21 billion budget

RALEIGH (AP) -- Governor Mike Easley has signed a nearly $21 billion state budget. Easley says lawmakers showed courage in boosting education spending and relieving counties' Medicaid burden. The House and Senate gave final approval Monday. The state is to take over Medicaid costs from the counties by mid-2009. Easley called the spending plan "absolutely magnificent." More than 30 lawmakers attended yesterday's ceremony, including House Speaker Joe Hackney of Orange County and Durham Representative Mickey Michaux, a chief author of the plan. Lawmakers failed to approve the budget by the June 30th deadline and passed a temporary spending plan that expired at midnight last night. Republican lawmakers complain the budget increases spending nearly ten percent. (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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