Jindal Plan To Close $487M Budget Deficit Wins Approval

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Lawmakers have agreed to Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to rebalance the state's budget and close a $487 million deficit.

         Though members of the joint House and Senate budget committee raised concerns that the patchwork plan would leave a slew of financial problems for a new governor taking office in January, they overwhelmingly supported the proposal Friday.

         House committee members voted 19-6 for the Jindal plan, while senators backed it 14-1.

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         Both candidates in Saturday's runoff for governor — Democrat John Bel Edwards and Republican David Vitter — urged rejection of the deficit closing plan. But neither spoke at the committee hearing Friday.

         Public colleges will be spared cuts. Mainly short-term fixes will be used to close gaps temporarily. A huge internal shortfall in the state Medicaid program won't be addressed.

         – by AP Reporter Melinda Deslatte

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