Dedicated funds remain off-limits in Louisiana budget debate
BATON ROUGE - As lawmakers sift through ideas to solve financial gaps, one idea has been off-limits: scaling back budget protections that leave higher education and health care most vulnerable to slashing.
Lawmakers have repeatedly lamented that too much of the state's budget is "dedicated," locked up by either the state constitution or state laws that dictate how certain dollars must be spent.
But so far, they've decided to keep in place the statutory and constitutional limits that give them less room to maneuver in financing plans.
The $24 billion budget up for House debate Thursday instead would use tax changes, money from improved income forecasts and patchwork financing to close much of next year's shortfall. House leaders estimate lawmakers need another $140 million to address the remaining list of budget needs.