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House OKs $1.8 billion supplemental spending package

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House has approved legislation to allow the state to spend an additional $1.8 billion in the current budget year.

The measure passed by a 65-48 vote on Wednesday. It now goes to the Senate.

The Legislature approved a roughly $35.4 billion 2014 budget last May.

Rep. Greg Harris is a Chicago Democrat and a House budget negotiator. He says the state had higher-than-projected revenue this year, thanks to an improved economy that generated more sales and income tax than was anticipated.

The supplemental budget legislation allocates about $900 million to paying down Illinois’ backlog of unpaid bills. The comptroller’s office said earlier this month that the backlog is about $4.7 billion.

Extra funds also will go toward Medicaid and public safety.