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Easley to sign $20.7 billion state budget Tuesday

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RALEIGH (AP) -- Governor Easley will sign the $20 billion budget Tuesday now that lawmakers have given their final approval.

The House approved the budget as part of a two-year spending plan by a vote of 64-to-52, the second of two required votes on the budget. The Senate voted to approve the budget minutes later by a vote of 31-to-19.

It was on Saturday that the Senate and House gave initial approval to the budget, largely along party lines. Democrats, who hold the majority in both chambers and wrote the final compromise plan, are praising the budget. They say it will improve education, expand health care research and shift Medicaid costs from each county to the state by mid-2009.

Nearly all Republicans opposed the final plan. They say it spends nine and a half percent more this year than last year, and that's more than double the amount necessary according to population and inflation growth rates.

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

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