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Monday, March 28, 2011 - 8:56am

Key Senate Panel OK's Budget

Updated: 3 years ago.
A Senate committee Monday passed the fiscal 2012 budget plan. (GPB file photo)

The Senate Appropriations Committee has unanimously approved an $18.2 billion budget for the coming fiscal year.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jack Hill said Monday exploding growth in the state's Medicaid rolls and a huge hole in the state health benefit plan contributed to a $180 million gap in health funding.

But Hill also said the Senate budget finds savings through combining backroom services — like payroll — across state agencies and departments. Hill also expects some corrections costs to go down as the state moves some nonviolent offenders to alternatives like drug courts.

The fiscal year 2012 budget begins July 1. Federal stimulus money is set to dry up, which will mean the loss of about $1 billion in cash from Washington.

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