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NC Senate budget gets final OK; House makes own plan next

June 25, 2021 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A two-year North Carolina government budget that spends, saves and cuts taxes thanks to a state revenue boon and billions more federal COVID-19 relief funds cleared the Senate on Friday.

Four Democrats joined all Republicans in voting for the spending proposal — just like Thursday when the chamber completed the first of two required votes after 2 1/2 hours of debate. There was no debate Friday.

The budget bill now goes to the House, where Republicans will fashion a competing plan and pass it, likely next month. The two chambers then will hammer out a compromise to present to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

Cooper and other Democrats criticized the Senate plan for tax reductions for corporations and high wage-earners while education and health needs are great. The Senate votes suggests Democratic support is possible for overriding any veto. Still, the governor and GOP leaders have spoken often of finding budget consensus.

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Senate Republicans said the tax rate reductions and increased deductions disproportionately benefit low- and middle-class tax filers. There are self-imposed spending limits on state funds in the budget, while over half the $5 billion in American Rescue Plan funds contained inside would go for business grants, broadband and water and sewer projects.