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Mass. Senate Begins Debating State Budget Plan

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Senate has begun debating hundreds of proposed amendments to its $34 billion state budget proposal.

Senators began Wednesday making their way through 725 proposed changes to the spending plan outlined by the Senate Ways and Means Committee last week.

The Senate budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 calls for an increase of $1.4 billion, or about 4.4 percent, over the current year.

That includes new spending on housing, education, mental health and veteran services.

The Senate plan and a budget passed by the House last month both include $500 million in new revenue, including hikes in gasoline and cigarette taxes.

University of Massachusetts officials say the Senate budget does not include enough funding to allow the school to freeze tuition and fees as it hopes to do.

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