Associated PressNewsState

Senate debates Louisiana operating budget with deep cuts

By:
  • MELINDA DESLATTE, Associated Press
Pictured:
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards, right, talks Monday, May 14, 2018, about the special session on taxes that he has called to begin May 22 in Baton Rouge, La. A sign language interpreter, left, looks on. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)

By MELINDA DESLATTE, Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s state senators are debating a more than $28 billion state operating budget that would make steep cuts across state government to protect health programs for the elderly and disabled.

The budget being discussed Tuesday would shield nursing home residents from evictions and keep Louisiana’s safety-net hospitals from closure.

But to keep things in balance and account for expiring taxes, senators propose slashing financing to colleges, eliminating the food stamp program and jeopardizing public safety programs. TOPS would cover only 70 percent of college tuition costs.

The spending plan would start July 1.

Senators who crafted the proposal say they have no interest in the budget taking effect, describing the cuts as damaging to critical services. They hope lawmakers will pass replacement taxes in a special session starting next week.

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