Ga. Senate OKs 2009 budget

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ATLANTA - The Georgia Senate approved an $18.9 billion budget that relies on hundreds of millions of dollars in federal stimulus money to help offset a huge budget shortfall.

The budget passed 49-2. It covers the fiscal year which ends June 30.

Despite making about $2 billion in spending cuts, lawmakers scraped together $428 million to pay for the Homeowner Tax Relief Grant. Those grants total about $200 to $300 in property tax relief per household.

Georgia's economy has been ravaged by the recession and plummeting tax revenues have forced legislators to make deep spending cuts.

But the budget also contains money for more food safety inspectors sought after a nationwide salmonella outbreak was traced to products made at a South Georgia peanut plant.

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