State lawmakers in the House have given final approval to their $21 billion spending plan. The measure passed 77 to 35 Friday morning. It gives teachers an average five percent raise, but relies on money from the lottery to help pay for that. Nelson Dollar heads the House Appropriations Committee.
"It has listened to the people all across our state on issues that are important to them, needs they have felt very strongly about. In terms of providing teacher raises, not cutting teaching assistants, making sure that the most needy who're being served by Medicaid will continue to be served," says Dollar.
The House plan keeps teacher assistants in the second and third grades, unlike the Senate's budget plan. The Senate proposal seeks to trim the state's Medicaid rolls, while the House version does not. The House version would also give grants to the film industry and provide five extra vacation days for state employees. The two chambers are expected to negotiate over their proposals next week.