WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve Board on Monday approved a two-year budget plan that estimates spending of $435.7 million for 2002-2003, an 11% increase from 2000-2001 levels.

Though a formal budget will be not be voted on until early October, the outline for the next two years envisions more spending on staff and on information technology. More than half of the increase, or $21.9 million, would fund merit raises, which the Fed said would average 4.2% in 2002 and 4% in 2003. However, this figure could change to reflect the results of a salary survey now being conducted, the Fed said.

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