Scaled-Back $29B Budget Up For Debate In Louisiana House

Louisiana House of Representatives

BATON ROUGE (AP) — The Louisiana House is having an all-day debate about a nearly $29 billion state operating budget proposed for next year.

         Republicans and Democrats have sharp disagreements over spending plans for the year that begins July 1, including over how much money to allocate for programs and services.

         GOP House leaders crafted a proposal that favors the TOPS college tuition program over health services for the poor and that spends $235 million less in state tax dollars than projected to be available.

         Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration and Democratic lawmakers say the scaled-back proposal is irresponsible and heartless. They want to spend the full amount of financing forecast for next year.

         Whatever is approved after Thursday's debate heads next to the Senate, where the budget likely will get a heavy rewrite.

         – by AP Reporter Melinda Deslatte


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