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Senate committee discuss how to spend your tax money

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RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) -- Talks were underway today on how to spend your tax money.  The vote on how to do that could come as early as today at the State Capitol.

Earlier this morning the Senate finance committee met to look over their proposed budget.  The budget plan is similar to the House version which has already unanimously been approved.

The 15-member committee came together to "smooth out the wrinkles."  Up for consideration is a pay increase--six years in the making for state employees--to include teachers.  The plan is to boost their salary by up to three-percent.

But the biggest sticking point is centered around healthcare, specifically Medicaid.  The discussions are focused on how the federal program could potentially expand.

"There's attention paid to some of the health needs, the safety net issues, higher education," Republican Senator Walter Stosch said.  "All of those are addressed in our priorities."

"The transportation plan is critical and health care, " Senator Henry Marsh said.  "Especially healthcare, those are the two main issues."

Senator Marsh added he's optimistic they'll reach an agreement before the end of session, which is February 23.

Once the Senate committee decides on a budget, they will get together with the House committee to compare and negotiate each financial plan before a final budget is passed.