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Louisiana Senate passes spending budget

16 May 2018

A plan outlining how Louisiana should spend unbudgeted cash from the last two budget years has won state Senate support.

The House earlier voted 85-0 for the bill.

The first 2018 special session called by the Governor in February was also an attempt to address this upcoming revenue roll-off; however, no significant tax measures were passed by the legislature at that time.

"This is not the budget we want", Senate Finance Chair Eric LaFleur (D-Ville Platte) said. "But at least we spell out what it is that we want". The TOPS college scholarship program, which the House had funded at 80 percent, was trimmed to 70 percent in committee.

"Both the House and Senate have now validated what we've been saying all along - you can not fashion a budget that adequately funds our priorities without maintaining a portion of the revenue that is expiring", said Gov. Edwards.

The budget bill, totaling more than $28 billion, advanced with a 27-10 vote.

"It is not fair to the people we serve", Sen. Karen Carter Peterson told colleagues Tuesday the Senate vote was "an exercise in futility" because Gov. "I don't think anybody enjoys these cuts so we'll see what we can do to raise some dollars in the special session that's going to be called next week".

The spending plan would start July 1. The chamber previously advanced a budget that would have closed safety-net hospitals, while ending state aid that keeps tens of thousands of elderly and disabled Louisianians in nursing homes and at-home care.

Louisiana Senate passes spending budget