By STEVE LeBLANC
BOSTON (AP) - A Senate panel has released a $41.42 billion state budget plan for the 2019 fiscal year that begins July 1, a 3 percent increase over the current fiscal year.
Senate Ways and Means Committee chairwoman Karen Spilka said Thursday the proposed budget aims to keep Massachusetts as a leader on education, health care, economic innovation and protecting the vulnerable.
The Ashland Democrat called the proposal balanced and fiscally responsible.
The spending plan includes $4.9 billion for school funding and $1.1 billion for aid to cities and towns. It also puts $88.5 million into the state's rainy day fund.
The Senate is scheduled to begin debating the bill on May 22.
The House approved a budget last month that would also raise overall spending by about 3 percent without major tax increases.
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