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Senate rejects Medicaid expansion, approves $10.7 billion state budget

CONCORD – The Senate voted 13-11 down party lines Thursday for a $10.7 billion biennial state budget that does not include Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

The Senate action sets the stage for negotiations with the House whose budget spends $300 million more the Senate's plan and includes a tobacco and gas tax increase and delays implementing business tax credits approved last year but do not go into effect until July 1.

Democrats unsuccessfully tried to increase revenue estimates and include money for congregate living services for the elderly, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and the developmentally disabled.

And Democrats tried unsuccessfully to increase the tobacco tax 20 cents a pack to raise $40 million over the biennium to reduce personnel compensation and benefits and to increase funding for several health and human services programs.

Both the House and Senate budgets spend about $2.8 billion over the next two years in state general fund money.

House and Senate negotiators will sit down later this month to try to reach a compromise before July 1 when the new budget goes into effect.

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