- Associated Press - Friday, February 19, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) - A $47.5 billion state budget approved by the Georgia House narrows a spending gap for public education, boosts salaries for state workers and gives state retirees a one-time bonus.

The 167-1 vote on Friday sends the spending plan to the state Senate. Any changes made there have to be reconciled before the legislative session ends in late March.

House leaders added the 3 percent bonus for state retirees to Gov. Nathan Deal’s budget proposal. House members preserved $300 million intended to help school districts lengthen school years after cuts during the recession. Deal’s aides have said they money also covers a 3 percent salary increase for teachers.

The plan would spend $23.7 billion from state tax collections and other Georgia sources. The rest comes from federal sources.

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