RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A key North Carolina House committee on Wednesday approved a Republican budget proposal that critics say makes avoidable cuts in public education and health programs but that GOP leaders argue protects classroom teachers and health services for the poor.

The House Appropriations Committee debated for more than seven hours and voted on more than 70 amendments before it approved the $19.3 billion spending plan for the new fiscal year on a voice vote.

The full House will vote next week on the bill, which would spend $600 million less than what Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue proposed for the year starting in July.

House Republican leaders told budget-writers to spend $1.4 billion less than Perdue offered in six key funding categories, largely the result of a GOP decision to let temporary taxes approved by Democrats in 2009 expire this year — costing the state $1.3 billion in additional revenues.

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