Senate passes budget that shifts cuts to government agencies

Senate passes budget that shifts cuts to government agencies

A divided Louisiana Senate backed a more than $28 billion state operating budget that would make steep cuts across state government to protect health programs for the elderly and disabled.

The first 2018 special session called by the Governor in February was also an attempt to address this upcoming revenue roll-off; however, no significant tax measures were passed by the legislature at that time.

Edwards said in a Monday afternoon press conference that, when the current regular session ends early, he will issue a call for a special session that begins May 22 and ends June 4 - the same day the current regular session was to end.

The budget approved in a 27-10 vote Tuesday would shield nursing home residents from evictions and keep Louisiana's safety-net hospitals from closure.

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"It is not fair to the people we serve", Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans). "This is just an exercise in futility".

A 31-7 Senate vote Monday sent the measure to the governor. "I have no plans to allow that budget document to guide our appropriations for next fiscal year", said Edwards, who appears to be turning his attention to the approaching special session.

His 32-item call has many familiar items, such as sales tax increases and income tax bracket compression, but does not include items that were key to the collapse of the last special session in March.

The Senate's version of the budget cuts the general fund allocation to the treasurer, judiciary, Legislature, Secretary of State and every other agency by 24.2 percent.

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