The North Carolina Senate tentatively okayed a state budget Wednesday night unlike any other. That's because the $17,000,000,000 spending plan would also create a lottery and ban video poker. The proposal calls for earmarking lottery proceeds to benefit education initiatives and school construction. The budget also contains more than $900,000,000 in new or extended taxes and higher fees. Some of those include a 35 cent per-pack hike in cigarette taxes, making the half-cent sales tax permanent, and increasing consumer prices on things like phone calls, satellite t-v, and liquor. Final approval by the senate could come Thursday. The proposal would then head to the state house.
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