Illinois legislature sends new state budget to governor

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Senate has approved the final piece of a new state budget.
   
The spending plan approved Friday now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn.
   
The $35.4 billion general revenue funds budget avoids cuts to elementary, secondary and higher education for the first time in several years. It also keeps funding level for school transportation, early childhood and bilingual education.
   
But elementary and secondary school districts will continue to receive only 89 percent of what state statutes say they should get in general state aid.
   
Democrats drafted the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. They say it's a responsible plan that honestly reflects anticipated spending and helps pay down the state's backlog of bills.
   
Republicans criticize it for increasing spending and including "pork" projects.

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