Louisiana House Leaders Plan Closed-Door Financial Retreat

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana House lawmakers are planning a closed-door retreat to hash out ideas for closing a looming $1 billion-plus state budget gap.

         The meeting will be held Thursday at a Baton Rouge catering hall.

         Alexandria Rep. Lance Harris, head of the House GOP delegation, called the gathering an "educational, bipartisan retreat" aimed at getting the most up-to-date information about the state's finances and the options for filling the budget hole.

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         Minden Rep. Gene Reynolds, leader of the House Democrats, says 79 of the chamber's 103 members said they plan to attend. He says no votes will be taken.

         The $1 billion-plus shortfall hits July 1, when temporary taxes expire. Proposals by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards to rewrite tax laws to close the gap have gone nowhere in the majority-Republican House.

         – by AP Reporter Melinda Deslatte

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