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Without the support of any Republicans, Illinois Senate Democrats yesterday approved a spending plan, which includes $5.4 billion in higher taxes, to end the two-year budget stalemate. The plan raises the personal income tax rate from 3.75% to 4.95 percent and extends the state sales tax to several services not now taxed. The Senate also approved a $37.3 billion appropriations bill that authorizes spending for state programs for the fiscal year starting July 1. (State Journal-Register)

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