Senate approves budget plan

PROVIDENCE, RI – On a 30-to-7 vote, the state Senate yesterday approved a seven-point-seven billion dollar budget for the fiscal year that begins Friday.

Senators call the budget a big improvement over Governor Lincoln Chafee's plan since it relies far less on new tax revenue. Senate Finance Chairman Daniel DaPonte says he was still given pause by cuts to programs for the poor and disabled.

"But at the end of the day we have a responsibility and we have an obligation not only to make tough decisions but to lead," he says.

Senators say the budget pays back the state's rainy day fund, adds money for education and transportation, and cuts Rhode Island's long-term structural deficits. It also includes plans for a statewide November 2012 vote on expanding Twin River into a casino.

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