Florida lawmakers to take up $74 billion budget

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida legislators are taking their first votes this year on a new state budget.

House and Senate committees are expected to vote Wednesday on rival $74 billion spending plans.

Fueled by growth that is adding to the state's bottom line, the proposed budgets include more money for public schools and a pay raise for state workers.

This year's proposals are a turnaround from the last few years when lawmakers were forced to cut funding for public schools and universities.

Lawmakers have until early May to send a new budget to Gov. Rick Scott that covers state spending from July 1, 2013 until June 2014.

While there are differences in the rival plans there's not enough to keep legislators ending their work on time.

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