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Capital budget fails in Illinois Senate

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By AP/KWMU/IL Public Radio

Springfield, Ill. – An effort to pass the first major construction program in three years in Illinois failed in the Senate Thursday night. Democrats say schools and roads need to be built, but Republicans counter there's no way to pay for it.

The plan was to spend $4 billion for construction projects. It was a bigger version of the construction program Governor Rod Blagojevich has been pushing.

But Republican lawmakers say the governor and his fellow Democrats have not shown clear details for paying off all that debt. And the plan needed their votes because plans to borrow money need a three-fifths majority vote. All Republicans in the Senate voted no.

Democrats knew the measure would fail but went forward anyway. They are likely to use the vote during campaign season to argue that Republicans don't support better schools and roads.

Blagojevich issued a statement accusing Republicans of putting partisan politics ahead of what's good for the state.

Lightning strikes near State House

Also on Thursday, lightning struck a building near the Illinois state Capitol and temporarily put the Senate out of business. Fire alarms and the Senate's audio system were knocked out by a power surge. The House was unaffected.

The Senate later reconvened and instead of using microphones, senators just spoke up.

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