The Democratic majority in the Illinois General Assembly last week approved a spending bill that allocates $7.8 billion to cover fiscal 2012 state pension contributions and pension debt payments.

That leaves $26 billion in expected general fund revenue — according to the Senate leadership — to complete the fiscal 2012 spending plan that lawmakers have not yet approved. Republicans criticized the move, arguing that the budget should be approved in pieces. The fiscal year begins July 1.

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