College Leaders Sound The Alarm On Louisiana Budget 'Cliff'

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's higher education leaders are ramping up pressure on state lawmakers, seeking a decision on taxes rather than more months of financial uncertainty.

A $1 billion shortfall looms on July 1, when temporary sales taxes expire.

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards wants a tax package passed in a February special session to replace the expiring revenue, but he's been unable to strike a deal with House Republican leaders.

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Commissioner of Higher Education Joe Rallo says if that special session doesn't happen, colleges will have to plan for deep reductions that could persuade students to leave Louisiana.

Southern University System President Ray Belton and Louisiana State University System President F. King Alexander also are calling on lawmakers to resolve the gap quickly rather than waiting until right before the next budget year begins

-By Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press

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