NC Senate budget drawn by GOP target for critics

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina state government budget drawn up by Senate Republicans has given Democrats and advocacy groups plenty to pick at when it comes to reshaping public school funding and raising fees.

The GOP pushed their two-year spending plan through the Senate's appropriations and finance committees on Tuesday. The first floor vote is expected Wednesday.

Democrats complain the measure would eliminate funding for more than 4,500 teacher assistant positions in second and third grade. Republicans counter that assistants are more effective in kindergarten and first grade and local districts have more flexibility to spend money on more assistants if they wish.

The bill also would require tolls on all ferries and raise fees on electric and hybrid vehicles. Students also could be forced to pay more for driver's education.

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