Gov. Edwards Budget Plan At Odds With Lawsuit Settlement

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards' proposal to redirect Gulf oil spill recovery money to rebalance this year's budget appears to conflict with a legal settlement the state struck two years ago. The settlement was aimed at ending a lawsuit over Louisiana's "rainy day" fund.

         Edwards wants to steer $200 million Louisiana is receiving from BP, compensation for economic damages caused by the oil spill, to help plug a $700 million-plus budget hole that must be closed by June.

         But lawmakers earmarked those oil spill dollars to repay trust funds raided in earlier budget balancing efforts, including the rainy day fund.

         Passage of that legislation helped then-Gov. Bobby Jindal settle a 2010 lawsuit claiming Louisiana hadn't properly refilled the rainy day fund after its use. The settlement was completed in November 2014.

         – by AP Reporter Melinda Deslatte



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