Illinois Senate Passes Balanced Budget, Adjourns Session

Republicans and Democrats both agree that the nearly $40 billion budget is balanced

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The Senate has adopted a $39.9 billion state budget and adjourned its spring session.

The spending plan represents a 2% increase over the current budget. The Senate finished work on the fiscal package early Saturday and adjourned until fall. But the House returns Saturday to complete its work.

Republicans agreed with majority Democrats that the budget is balanced. It provides education increases, fully funds pension payments and increases spending on child welfare.

The Senate also OK'd a $45 billion dollar statewide construction program for roads, schools and other public works. It calls for a variety of new and increased taxes, such as doubling the gas tax to 38 cents per gallon and increasing vehicle registration fees by 50% to $150.

The House only approved the outline of the operating budget. It returns Saturday to finish and to consider a massive gambling initiative, including legalized sports betting. Approval of that would necessitate a quick return by the Senate.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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