Budget Passes 

(AP) – A state budget rewrite that closes a $310 million gap between revenues and expenses by cutting education funding, social services and almost every other state program has won the final approval of the Maine House. Following expected Senate approval, it will be sent to Gov. John Baldacci, who plans to sign the bill Wednesday. Representatives on Tuesday voted 114-34 to approve the bill before sending it to the Senate, where there was no debate or opposition in a vote earlier in the day. The House vote came after representatives defeated two amendments designed to financially help school districts, especially those in poor and rural districts hurt by consolidation and what some see as unfair subsidies. While the $310 million shortfall made up by the supplemental budget is large, it’s much smaller than the $438 million shortfall forecast in January. The bill includes no new taxes or fees.