Louisiana Budget Deal Done, New Tax Money Added To Forecast

 

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana has taken the final procedural step needed to spend nearly $500 million in taxes passed by lawmakers to avoid hefty budget cuts in July.

The state's income forecasting panel Tuesday adjusted revenue forecasts to account for the dollars raised across two special sessions, the last approval needed to enact a budget without the dire slashing once predicted.

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Instead, the final $29.5 billion state operating budget enacted by the Legislature will keep most agencies on an even keel and even fund a few new initiatives.

The spending plan will shield health care services, education programs, the TOPS tuition program, state parks, district attorneys and the child-welfare agency from cuts.

Corrections officers will get a pay raise. Need-based aid for college students will grow. The foster care program will be expanded.

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– by Melinda Deslatte, AP reporter

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