NC house of representatives approve state budget proposal

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The North Carolina House has given final approval to its state government budget proposal that makes big spending cuts and raises taxes.

Lawmakers agreed early Saturday to the $18.6 billion spending plan in a vote of 64-53. The margin was nearly identical to the initial vote to approve late Friday night.

The proposal would require $784 million in new taxes to help close a $4 billion-plus budget gap. Another $1.3 billion in federal stimulus money also is available.

The bill now returns to the Senate, which approved its own spending plan in April and is expected to reject the House version.

That will set up a conference committee to begin negotiating a final two-year spending plan that would be presented to Gov. Beverly Perdue.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)