Louisiana To Refinance Debt For $82M For This Year's Budget

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana's top officials have agreed to refinance state debt to generate $82 million in quick cash to help close gaps in this year's budget.

         The Bond Commission agreed to the financing maneuver Thursday, over the objections of its chairman, Treasurer John Kennedy.

         Lawmakers assumed the additional cash in its budget rebalancing work during the special legislative session. But the decision will add long-term costs to state debt repayment.

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         Kennedy says he couldn't vote for what he considers another budget gimmick, on top of years of short-term fixes that left Louisiana stumbling with repeated budget gaps.

         State financial adviser Renee Boicourt told the commission a refinancing was one of the only ways Louisiana can generate sizable amounts of money by June 30. But she advised: "I recommend don't do this again."

         – by AP Reporter Melinda Deslatte

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