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May 28, 2012 10:11 AM by AP

Senators take their hand at next year's budget

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana senators are crafting their version of the state's more than $25 billion operating budget for next year, deciding Monday whether to back the deep cuts proposed by their counterparts in the House.

Senators have said they expect to restore some of the money stripped by a bloc of conservative House Republicans who want to shrink the size of state spending.

Action in the Senate Finance Committee is expected to set up the key negotiating sides in the budget battle with a week remaining in the legislative session. At issue is whether lawmakers should use $268 million in one-time financing to balance next year's budget, or deepen cuts to state services.

The regular session must end by June 4.

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