Jefferson City. (AP File Photo)
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has signed off on a $24 billion budget that gives a raise to state workers and avoids cuts to a blind health care program.
Senate passage of the budget came early Wednesday after a coalition of nine Republican senators dropped a two-day stalling effort. The senators gained several concessions, but their changes did relatively little to the bottom line of the budget.
The budget would provide a 2 percent raise for tens of thousands of state workers earning up to $45,000 annually.
Senators also decided to continue funding a program that provides free health coverage to 2,800 blind residents. A House version of the budget would have cut the program.
The Senate and House still must reconcile their differences and pass a final budget by May 11.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed