House lawmakers unanimously approved the approximately $6.7 billion state education budget Tuesday.
The budget get's Alabama back to pre-recession funding levels. It includes a 2.5 percent pay raise for all state employees, more funding for Pre-K, K-12 and higher education.
House members approved the raise on a 100-0 vote Tuesday. The bill now moves to the Alabama Senate.
Rep. Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa, said the budget was a bipartisan effort.
The approval came after an hour of debate in which Democrats argued the raise should be higher.
Rep. Laura Hall and other Democrats said the raise should be 5 percent to compete with surrounding states and to offset recent increases in insurance premiums.
Democrats held a news conference shortly before session began Tuesday. They promoted adding more money to the education budget by taking some funding from the rolling reserve. The Rolling reserve acts as a safety net to avoid proration.
Poole, who is also the Ways and Means Committee Chairman, countered that any raise has to be sustainable in the future. He said the state should not tap savings to give a higher raise now.
The raise proposal is part of a package of spending bills moving along with the education budget.
The budget also includes increased funding for classroom supplies, technology and more.
Copyright 2018 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this story.