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$70B NYC budget for next year passes City Council

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City lawmakers have passed a $70 billion spending plan for the next fiscal year. It holds taxes steady, avoids major layoffs and starts on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ambitious plans to protect the city from storms and global warming.

The City Council approved the budget early Thursday. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn reached agreement on the budget this weekend.

The budget includes $250 million for bulkheads and other coastal protection improvements. They're among plans Bloomberg recently outlined for guarding against rising seas and other hazards associated with climate change.

One big item the spending plan doesn't address: potential raises for city employees who have been working on expired contracts. The city could have to find billions of dollars for retroactive increases if new agreements are reached.