The Senate has completed work on its version of a budget for the 2005 fiscal year. Senate Budget Chairman John Russell of Lebanon says one of the big areas of disagreement between the House and Senate versions is the amount of money set aside for Medicaid and he hopes the Senate version, with fewer cuts, is the one that emerges from next week’s conference. There is also a difference over how much to spend for higher education. Russell believes higher revenues might convince House conferees to go along with the Senate’s desire to spend a little more. House and Senate negotiators will have to iron out their differences before the budget package can be sent to Governor Bob Holden. The Senate budget proposal is an $18.8-Billion document while the House version calls for $18.6-Billion in expenditures. The conference will begin next week. The budget must be sent to the Governor by May 7th.
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