Fla. Senate passes $74 billion budget

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A $74 billion spending plan for the state received unanimous approval from the Florida Senate.

The Senate on Wednesday approved a proposed state budget that includes a 3 percent pay raise for state workers and a more than $1 billion increase for the state's public schools.

The budget bill (SB 1500) now heads to the Florida House. The House is expected to debate and vote on a rival spending plan later this week.

The Florida Legislature has until early May to pass a new budget that covers spending from July 2013 until June 2014.

There are differences in the rival plans. For example, the House wants a 6 percent tuition hike for universities. The differences don't appear big enough to keep legislators ending their work on time.

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