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Content Tagged As budget

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  • Cuts loom as latest budget deficit tops $300 million

    January 13, 2017 1:46 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's midyear deficit has been pegged at $313 million, a figure that Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration says will trigger the governor to call a special legislative session to re-balance the budget. An income forecasting panel downgraded Louisiana tax collection estimates Friday, to account for unemployment that... more »
  • Governor: $300M deficit could trigger special session need

    January 6, 2017 6:49 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Gov. John Bel Edwards is suggesting a special budget-rebalancing legislative session may be likely to close a looming midyear deficit. The size of the gap will be decided next week. The Democratic governor said Friday if the deficit reaches $300 million or more, as has been projected,... more »
  • More budget cuts, special session worries ahead in Louisiana

    December 24, 2016 11:36 AM

    BATON ROUGE - Gov. John Bel Edwards and Louisiana's lawmakers didn't need to wait for Christmas to get the lump of coal in their stockings. They already knew about the financial headaches they'll have to tackle in 2017. Louisiana's 15th midyear budget gap in nine years is expected to be... more »
  • Louisiana colleges spared some cuts for now

    December 15, 2016 4:45 PM

    BATON ROUGE- Louisiana colleges took a lighter hit to their budgets Thursday than state lawmakers had feared a month earlier. Members of the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget recognized a $312 million mid-year budget cut at the capitol and higher education took a $12 million hit. In November,... more »
  • Bleak picture of repeated budget cuts from LSU president

    December 14, 2016 3:17 PM

    BATON ROUGE - LSU System President F. King Alexander gave lawmakers a bleak picture about the years of state budget cuts. He says faculty and students are getting poached by out-of-state colleges and per-student spending on the main campus has fallen to among the lowest of its peers. Alexander's comments... more »
  • Council on Aging keeps its funding Play Video

    December 13, 2016 10:53 PM

    BATON ROUGE- Metro-council members failed to strip funding from the Council on Aging in Baton Rouge Tuesday. Republican Buddy Amoroso wanted the senior-citizen group to be solely funded by a tax hike voters approved in November. "I'm disappointed we gave them $872,000 from the budget," said Amoroso after his... more »
  • Decision on size of Louisiana budget gap pushed to January

    December 13, 2016 10:37 AM

    BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's income forecasting panel has delayed until January a decision on how deeply to downgrade the state's tax collection estimates. The move stalls creation of a new financial gap that would force deep cuts and budget rebalancing within a month. Gov. John Bel Edwards' chief budget adviser... more »
  • GOP lawmakers criticize boost in health spending

    December 7, 2016 3:06 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Republican lawmakers on the House budget committee are bristling at the spending increases in the state health department, saying the agency can't keep growing every year. Rep. Rick Edmonds, a Baton Rouge Republican, called the growth in health care spending "astonishing." Rep. Tony Bacala, a Republican from... more »
  • Social services leader seeks money for child welfare cases

    December 7, 2016 3:04 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's social services agency is asking for a sizable jump in next year's budget, largely to deal with child welfare cases that the department leader says are overwhelming workers. Children and Family Services Secretary Marketa Garner Walters told the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday without additional funds,... more »
  • New budget hearings open, with $600M gap lingering this year

    December 6, 2016 2:27 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Lawmakers are getting an early jump on budget negotiations for the upcoming state financial year, but with a warning they have as much as a $600 million hole to close in this year's spending plan first. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, the governor's chief budget adviser, reminded... more »
  • State planning financial cuts to higher education, health care Play Video

    November 18, 2016 6:17 PM

    BATON ROUGE – The state is currently $300,000 million short and in order to fill the gap, the governor's office is proposing big cuts and, once again, higher education and health care may not be spared. Students at LSU are worried. "It will be more difficult to get... more »
  • Edwards delays budget cuts amid worry about hit to colleges

    November 18, 2016 1:25 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Gov. John Bel Edwards has agreed to delay budget cuts for another month, as lawmakers push for him to find a way to spare college campuses from the slashing. As part of his proposal to close a more than $300 million deficit, the Democratic governor had planned... more »
  • Dardenne: La. doesn't have luxury of sparing higher ed. cuts

    November 17, 2016 2:47 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Gov. John Bel Edwards is planning an $18 million cut to public colleges to help close a state budget deficit, only months after higher education leaders thought they had escaped reductions. The cut is about 2 percent of colleges' general state financing. But the largest piece of... more »
  • Louisiana looks into another debt refinancing

    November 17, 2016 1:36 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Louisiana officials are considering another state debt refinancing, hoping it may save the state some money as it struggles through repeated budget gaps. Gov. John Bel Edwards' chief budget adviser, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, asked staff of the Bond Commission to look into the idea. Dardenne... more »
  • Edwards' $315 million deficit-closing plan to be unveiled

    November 14, 2016 5:40 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Gov. John Bel Edwards' chief budget adviser will unveil the administration's proposal for closing a $315 million deficit to lawmakers on Friday. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne will outline the recommendations to the joint House and Senate budget committee, seeking to close a budget hole left from... more »
  • Tax law rewrite proposals released to Louisiana lawmakers

    November 2, 2016 9:58 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's lawmakers are being urged to make sweeping changes to the state's sales tax, personal income tax and property tax policies. The effort is aimed at stabilizing state government finances and ending its boom-and-bust budgeting cycles. A study group created by lawmakers to recommend a tax revamp... more »
  • Edwards administration warning $313M budget gap could grow

    October 28, 2016 5:14 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Gov. John Bel Edwards' chief budget architect says he fears Louisiana won't meet its income forecast this year, heaping new financial problems on a state already facing a $313 million deficit from last year. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told state lawmakers Friday that economists have been... more »
  • Louisiana has $313M deficit from last year

    October 27, 2016 6:05 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Louisiana closed the books on the last budget year with a $313 million deficit. That's the figure Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says will be presented to lawmakers Friday. Dardenne says Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration hasn't yet decided how to deal with the shortfall, which is... more »
  • La. agencies, colleges asked to draw up budget cut plans

    October 27, 2016 3:10 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's state agencies and colleges are being asked to prepare for budget cuts of as much as 10 percent of their state financing because of a deficit from last year that could reach $300 million. Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration notified departments this week of the possible... more »
  • Edwards, Landry appear to settle latest budget dispute

    September 30, 2016 7:29 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Gov. John Bel Edwards and Attorney General Jeff Landry appear to have worked out their latest budget dispute. The attorney general sought to boost spending in his budget on Medicaid fraud investigations and to take money from the health department to defend Louisiana abortion laws against a... more »
  • Louisiana governor sues AG over anti-discrimination clause

    September 30, 2016 1:52 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says he's suing the state attorney general over his rejection of contracts with an anti-discrimination clause that would protect LGBT people. Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry has refused to approve contracts allowing state agencies to hire outside lawyers because they contain language... more »
  • How big is Louisiana's deficit? Figure expected next month

    September 27, 2016 8:16 PM

    BATON ROUGE - A dollar figure for Louisiana's budget deficit will be released next month, after the state's financial analysts finish reconciling the accounting books. Louisiana leaders expect the state spent more than it brought into the treasury in the budget year that ended June 30. Gov. John Bel Edwards'... more »
  • White House not certain Obama would sign Senate GOP budget

    September 23, 2016 2:33 PM

    WASHINGTON - The White House says it's not certain that President Barack Obama would sign a budget bill unveiled by the Senate's top Republican. Spokesman Josh Earnest says Obama is disappointed the bill doesn't include money to help Flint, Michigan, and other cities deal with lead in their water. Earnest... more »
  • Edwards, Landry to meet over latest budget disagreement

    September 21, 2016 11:36 AM

    BATON ROUGE - Gov. John Bel Edwards will sit down with Attorney General Jeff Landry next week to try to hash out their latest budget dispute. Representatives of the Democratic governor and Republican attorney general say a Sept. 30 meeting has been scheduled to discuss Landry budget requests that were... more »
  • Lawmakers won't intervene in Landry, Edwards budget dispute

    September 16, 2016 2:57 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Lawmakers are refusing to intervene in the latest budget dispute between Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration and Attorney General Jeff Landry. Members of the joint House and Senate budget committee heard the disagreement Friday and told the two sides to go work it out on their own.... more »
  • Louisiana to borrow up to $400M in short-term bank loans

    September 15, 2016 1:00 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Louisiana will borrow up to $400 million from two banks to help keep bill-paying on track at state agencies. The Bond Commission agreed without objection Thursday to the short-term loans, which will be drawn down as needed and must be repaid by August 2017. The state's financial... more »
  • AG Landry says Edwards' office stalling his budget request

    September 14, 2016 2:16 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Attorney General Jeff Landry says two of his budget requests to lawmakers are being bottled up by Gov. John Bel Edwards administration. One request, Landry says, would provide $850,000 needed to defend state abortion restrictions against a lawsuit. Landry sent a letter to members of the Legislature's... more »
  • Governor's budget chief: Deficit from last year 'inevitable'

    August 8, 2016 3:05 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Gov. John Bel Edwards' top financial adviser says it's "inevitable" Louisiana will have a deficit to close from the last budget year, though it's too soon to say how large the gap will be. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne said Monday there's one more week of tax... more »
  • Layoffs won't hit Gov. John Bel Edwards' office after all

    July 26, 2016 5:14 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Gov. John Bel Edwards' office won't be laying off staff after all. Earlier this month, some employees in the office had received layoff notifications. But on Tuesday, Edwards spokesman Richard Carbo said a different approach has been taken to reduce costs to cope with a $703,000 cut... more »
  • Louisiana may need short-term loan for temporary cash flow

    July 21, 2016 3:01 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Louisiana is laying the groundwork for possibly taking out a short-term loan to pay the state's bills. The Bond Commission on Thursday agreed without objection to start the process, with a final decision in August. Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration, Treasurer John Kennedy's office and legislative leaders... more »
  • Louisiana's special sessions on taxes cost at least $1.8M

    July 15, 2016 1:10 PM

    BATON ROUGE - The two special sessions called by Gov. John Bel Edwards to help stabilize Louisiana's finances cost taxpayers at least $1.8 million. During the two sessions on taxes held this year, lawmakers raised about $1.5 billion to shrink holes in the current year budget. The House and Senate... more »
  • Layoffs planned in Gov. Edwards' office to balance budget

    July 13, 2016 1:35 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Layoff notifications have gone out to some of the employees of Gov. John Bel Edwards' office. Edwards spokesman Richard Carbo said Wednesday the governor's office will reduce its staff to cope with a $1 million budget cut for the financial year that began July 1. Some employees... more »
  • Edwards allows front-loading of TOPS payments, doesn't veto

    July 1, 2016 12:31 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Though he called it bad policy, Gov. John Bel Edwards has upheld the front-loaded approach to TOPS in the new budget. College students on TOPS will receive full tuition funding for the fall semester and 42 percent financing for the spring. As the financial year... more »
  • La. income estimates tweaked to add taxes, ahead of new year

    June 30, 2016 12:45 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's income forecasts have been updated to reflect tax changes backed by lawmakers, adjustments needed to keep the budget that begins Friday in balance. But other money problems loom, including concerns Louisiana might have to take out a short-term loan to keep cash flowing and government services... more »
  • Pointe Coupee police jury shaves 16 jobs to close deficit

    June 29, 2016 12:53 PM

    NEW ROADS - Council members in Pointe Coupee Parish agreed last week to shave 16 positions to close this year’s budget hole. Justin Cox, Chairman of the Finance Committee, said that this year’s projected parish sales tax revenue will be $580,000 less than last year. To make up... more »
  • Alaska could end to oil checks paid to residents since 1982

    June 29, 2016 11:19 AM

    ANCHORAGE - As Alaska faces a multibillion dollar budget deficit, the oil fund wealth checks distributed yearly to nearly every Alaskan could be on the chopping block. It could mean the first time in more than 30 years that most Alaskans won't get a check from the government just for... more »
  • Effort to raise another $88M for budget shelved

    June 23, 2016 12:04 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Senate President John Alario has given up on trying to raise another $88 million for next year's budget, saying the House won't go along with the plans. The proposal would have reduced personal income tax deductions for people who itemize on their state forms. The House rejected... more »
  • Lawmakers making last minute effort to fund TOPS Play Video

    June 22, 2016 7:44 PM

    BATON ROUGE - The Capitol is taking last minute efforts to put more money into the TOPS Scholarship program. The plan requires a tax hike and would only effect those who make more than $100,000 a year. However, Republicans are not in favor of the plan. The proposal for the... more »
  • Bills to lessen business tax breaks still alive Play Video

    June 20, 2016 7:52 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Two tax bills that could raise more than $70 million for next year's budget will be considered by the Louisiana House. They are likely the last proposals that could win final passage in the special session to help lessen budget cuts. The measures would scale back some... more »
  • TOPS not fully funded has parents and students concerned Play Video

    June 20, 2016 6:58 PM

    BATON ROUGE – The state budget has TOPS funded at only 70 percent leaving many parents worried about their children. Due to the program's current funding, no student will get a full TOPS scholarship. "It's very alarming to me as a parent. That my daughter has worked so hard though... more »
  • Economist: State could face up to $200M deficit this year

    June 17, 2016 11:06 AM

    BATON ROUGE - An economist who helps decide Louisiana's state income forecast has delivered grim news to Gov. John Bel Edwards and legislative leaders, saying the state could end up with as much as a $200 million deficit this year. If the expectation pans out, it would worsen state financial... more »
  • House, Senate disagreement over budget bill ends Play Video

    June 16, 2016 7:39 PM

    BATON ROUGE - House and Senate leaders have reached a deal on how to handle the budget bill to spend the tax dollars raised during the special legislative session. After a Thursday meeting, House leaders agreed to stop stalling the bill and are scheduling it for a Monday hearing. House... more »
  • House, Senate disagreement over budget bill ends

    June 16, 2016 3:52 PM

    BATON ROUGE - House and Senate leaders have reached a deal on how to handle the budget bill to spend the tax dollars raised during the special legislative session. After a Thursday meeting, House leaders agreed to stop stalling the bill and are scheduling it for a Monday hearing.... more »
  • Pay raises suspended for Louisiana's state workers next year

    June 16, 2016 11:40 AM

    BATON ROUGE - Tens of thousands of Louisiana state workers won't be getting pay raises next year. The Civil Service Commission voted 4-1 Thursday to block annual "performance adjustments" for more than 38,000 government workers, called classified employees. The pay raise suspension covers the budget year that begins July 1.... more »
  • Lawmaker calls proposed tax policy 'worst ever' Play Video

    June 15, 2016 11:12 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Some lawmakers are calling a tax bill that passed through the House Ways and Means Committee Wednesday as some of the worst tax policy ever. The tax hike would mainly impact wealthy people when they file their state return. It will only take effect if the... more »
  • Bill would lessen tax breaks for manufacturers

    June 15, 2016 2:39 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Senators are advancing a bill that would force large manufacturing facilities to choose between two property tax breaks they enjoy, to boost revenue for the state's budget. The bill by Republican Sen. Rick Ward, of Port Allen, would prohibit businesses from receiving both an exemption from paying... more »
  • Pointe Coupee begins tackling budget crisis

    June 14, 2016 10:59 PM

    POINTE COUPEE PARISH - The Point Coupee Parish Police Jury agreed to the first round of budget cuts Tuesday after sales tax revenues fell short. Police jurors agreed to eliminate a position in the utility department and a $40,000 contract with cleaning services, as well as 25% cuts across... more »
  • Democrat delivers blow to Gov. Edwards' tax plan Play Video

    June 8, 2016 6:22 PM

    BATON ROUGE - The Democratic chairman of the House tax committee sided with his Republican colleagues to kill one of the main money-raising tax bills sought by Gov. John Bel Edwards. Ways and Means Chairman Neil Abramson cast the tie-breaking vote Wednesday to stall the Democratic governor's proposal to... more »
  • Lawmakers approve budget, look to raise taxes in special session

    June 5, 2016 10:08 PM

    BATON ROUGE - State lawmakers passed a budget Sunday evening that slashes funding for both TOPS scholarships and hospitals. The approved cuts means the TOPS scholarship would be cut in half, costing an LSU student about $1,800 to go to school next year. The healthcare cuts could hurt health... more »
  • Louisiana's legislative session winding down, another looms

    June 5, 2016 5:50 PM

    BATON ROUGE - While lawmakers continue to haggle over the budget, they are trying to resolve other issues as the clock winds down on the regular legislative session. The House and Senate held rare Sunday debate time to sift through remaining bills, on topics ranging from juvenile justice reform to... more »
  • Gov. Edwards trying to sell lawmakers on need for taxes

    June 4, 2016 12:02 AM

    BATON ROUGE- Gov. John Bel Edwards has been meeting with groups of lawmakers over the last week, trying to build support for a fast-approaching special session on taxes. The Democratic governor wants to raise an additional $600 million for next year's budget in the special session that begins Monday, 30... more »
  • House spurns Senate version of next year's $26B budget

    June 3, 2016 4:46 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Lawmakers in the Louisiana House have refused to agree to the Senate's rewrite of next year's $26 billion budget. Instead, the House voted 102-0 Friday to send negotiations over a spending plan for the financial year that begins July 1 behind closed doors, to a six-member... more »
  • Landry says Senate budget proposal would damage his office

    June 2, 2016 5:43 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Senators have proposed to reverse a $7 million oil spill recovery payment given to Attorney General Jeff Landry's office. Landry says the cut could damage his office's operations, including work to fight cybercrime and crimes against children. He's trying to get lawmakers to scrap the Senate-approved... more »
  • Senate to debate $26B operating budget proposal Wednesday

    June 1, 2016 11:29 AM

    BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's state senators are readying to debate a nearly $26 billion state operating budget for next year that looks strikingly different from the House version. The Senate proposal up for debate Wednesday places a greater priority on health services for the elderly and disabled than the TOPS... more »
  • Governor asking senators to strip all House budget changes

    May 26, 2016 5:27 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration is asking state senators to scrap all the changes made to next year's nearly $26 billion budget by their colleagues in the House. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday he'd like the panel to strip the... more »
  • State budget concerns cause change of location for LSU nutrition building

    May 26, 2016 12:18 AM

    BATON ROUGE - A new athletic nutrition center planned for LSU's campus won't be built where it was planned because of the state's uncertain budget situation. The $12 million facility was supposed to be built on Skip Bertman Drive, near the old LSU baseball stadium. Instead, it will be... more »
  • Budget debate begins Thursday in the Louisiana House

    May 12, 2016 11:51 AM

    BATON ROUGE - Lawmakers in the Louisiana House are expecting a long day as they debate how to craft next year's budget and close a $600 million shortfall. The biggest disagreement for the financial year that begins July 1 centers on whether to prioritize the TOPS free college... more »
  • House budget protects TOPS by cutting others

    May 9, 2016 2:18 PM

    BATON ROUGE- Lawmakers in the Louisiana House are proposing to fully fund the TOPS free college tuition program by cutting across other state agencies. The House Appropriations Committee on Monday reworked the budget proposal for the financial year that begins July 1. The recommendations - approved in an 18-4 vote... more »
  • Governor sets May 15 target for tax study recommendations

    April 29, 2016 1:42 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Gov. John Bel Edwards is urging a study group looking at state budget and tax policy to give him preliminary recommendations by May 15 for ways to raise money to fill financial gaps. A report from the task force, created by state lawmakers, is due in September.... more »
  • Bill aims to cut meeting costs that reach thousands annually

    April 26, 2016 3:07 PM

    BATON ROUGE - State senators are trying to trim the costs of a legislative agency that spends thousands of dollars each year on meetings at a swanky New Orleans hotel. The Louisiana State Law Institute, which studies legal issues for the Legislature, regularly holds meetings of its decision-making council... more »
  • Estimate of Louisiana's budget shortfall drops to $600M

    April 25, 2016 12:07 PM

    BATON ROUGE - The price tag for Louisiana's budget shortfall next year has dropped to $600 million. Gov. John Bel Edwards' chief financial adviser Jay Dardenne told state senators Monday that a gap once pegged at $750 million is lower. Dardenne says that's thanks to savings from Edwards' planned Medicaid... more »
  • Budget the top worry as legislative session reaches midpoint

    April 22, 2016 2:36 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Louisiana lawmakers have reached the halfway mark of their regular session, with financial decisions in limbo and the budget still the session's focus. Only six bills - out of more than 1,600 filed for consideration - had received House and Senate passage and reached the governor's desk... more »
  • Students out of time to raise ACT score

    April 14, 2016 8:26 PM

    BATON ROUGE- Students hoping to boost their ACT scores to save their TOPS scholarships have run out of time. The last day to take the test to qualify for the next school year was Saturday. Before the latest round of state budget cuts were announced, students only needed an... more »
  • Budget cut debate mired in uncertainty about special session

    April 14, 2016 3:33 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Budget debates always include uncertainty about how much money agencies will receive in the upcoming financial year and whether they might take cuts. But that uncertainty is worsened this legislative session, complicated by questions about whether lawmakers will consider raising taxes further and when they'd make those... more »
  • Senators reject school funding formula amid budget concerns

    April 14, 2016 12:16 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Senators have rejected the public school financing formula proposed by the state education board for next year, at the request of Gov. John Bel Edwards. Lawmakers in the current budget year boosted funding for K-12 public schools by $44 million outside of the annual financing formula. The... more »
  • La. Senate backs cost containment for TOPS tuition program

    April 13, 2016 6:01 PM

    BATON ROUGE - A proposal to restrict the growth of Louisiana's TOPS free college tuition program has sailed through the Senate. The measure by Sen. Jack Donahue, a Mandeville Republican, would lock in the TOPS payment rate at next year's tuition level, unless lawmakers vote to raise payments. That could... more »
  • Paul Ryan is not running for president, or passing a budget

    April 13, 2016 4:12 PM

    WASHINGTON - House Speaker Paul Ryan's national stature is such that he had to call a news conference to deny he wants to be president. Back on Capitol Hill, he's about to blow through a statutory deadline to pass an annual budget, a major embarrassment for him and House Republicans.... more »
  • LSU President warns current students they could lose TOPS under governor's proposed cuts Play Video

    April 12, 2016 10:33 AM

    BATON ROUGE - Healthcare and TOPS took the brunt of the cuts in the governor's proposed budget cutbacks presented to the legislature Tuesday. Here's most the cuts that matter #lalege pic.twitter.com/EShyf63key — Mark Armstrong (@TV_MarkA) April 12, 2016 Governor John Bel Edwards and his budget advisers... more »
  • Gov. Edwards to outline budget cuts Tuesday

    April 12, 2016 8:33 AM

    BATON ROUGE - Governor John Bel Edwards is getting ready to release his budget cut proposals for the fiscal year beginning July 1st. On Tuesday, lawmakers will hear the governor's plan to close the state's $750 million shortfall. Legislators have been struggling to balance the budget for the past... more »
  • Medicaid copay bills stall amid health provider opposition

    April 7, 2016 3:03 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Proposals to charge Medicaid patients copays for some prescription drugs and other services have fizzled in the Louisiana Legislature, including a measure backed by Gov. John Bel Edwards. Hearings on three Medicaid copay bills were scrapped in the House health committee Thursday. That included the bill by... more »
  • Public defender's office warns it's too poor to represent the poor

    April 6, 2016 1:50 PM

    BATON ROUGE - The public defender's office in East Baton Rouge started warning judges of its inability to represent poor defendants in the criminal justice system. The letter, which was obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit Wednesday, cites budget issues and warns of layoffs at the office beginning next... more »
  • Louisiana college students face uncertainty about TOPS money

    April 5, 2016 3:30 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's budget problems are creating uncertainty for thousands of college students who rely on the state's TOPS free tuition program. With a shortfall estimated at $750 million for next year's budget, it's not clear how much money the highly-popular program will receive in the financial year that... more »
  • Budget worst-case scenario would close parks, historic sites

    April 4, 2016 4:33 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser says he could shutter many of Louisiana's state parks, museums and historic sites if his agency takes the worst-case scenario cut for next year. Nungesser told a House budget committee Monday that Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration asked him to prepare for up... more »
  • La. sales, cigarette and alcohol tax hikes kick in Friday Play Video

    March 30, 2016 11:11 AM

    BATON ROUGE - Smokers, drinkers, car renters and every shopper around Louisiana will be paying more for their purchases beginning Friday. Tax hikes on cigarettes, alcohol and car rentals are among many tax changes that take hold April 1. The biggest tax increase will hit nearly every person and business.... more »
  • Edwards unveils $70M in state budget cuts, to close deficit

    March 24, 2016 5:02 PM

    BATON ROUGE - To rebalance this year's budget, Gov. John Bel Edwards is levying all of a $70 million spending reduction on the state health department and sparing Louisiana's public colleges. The Democratic governor announced Thursday the final pieces of budget rebalancing needed to get the state out of the... more »
  • House budget hearings begin with uncertainty about cuts

    March 21, 2016 5:59 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Lawmakers in the House have opened their hearings on next year's budget, while Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration is still working to cut another $70 million this year. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told the House Appropriations Committee the governor will unveil the reductions to rebalance this... more »
  • EBR Public Defender's office is going broke Play Video

    March 21, 2016 8:54 AM

    BATON ROUGE- There could be no public defenders in Baton Rouge by the summer, an audit released Monday found. The state may not have enough money to keep the public defender's office handling cases in East Baton Rouge Parish open past June 30th. Already, public defenders said they're entering... more »
  • Louisiana to refinance debt for $82M for this year's budget

    March 17, 2016 11:22 AM

    BATON ROUGE - 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... more »
  • Governor to meet with credit rating agencies after downgrade

    March 17, 2016 4:30 AM

    BATON ROUGE- Gov. John Bel Edwards is visiting with representatives of the major credit rating agencies, after Louisiana was hit with one downgrade and is threatened with more. Edwards spokesman Richard Carbo says the governor will meet with rating agency officials Thursday evening at the governor's mansion. Also invited to... more »
  • La. budget shortfall for this year $70M after tax increases

    March 16, 2016 12:54 PM

    BATON ROUGE - A final tally of the tax hikes passed by lawmakers shows a gap of nearly $70 million remains to be closed in the next three months. Gov. John Bel Edwards and lawmakers had thought the shortfall for the budget year that ends June 30 was about $20... more »
  • Gov. Edwards wants more construction money on roads, maintenance

    March 16, 2016 11:08 AM

    BATON ROUGE - Gov. John Bel Edwards intends to rework Louisiana's construction budget. The governor says he will steer more dollars to roadwork and repairs of existing state buildings. He says his administration is going to drop some of the smaller, local projects favored by state lawmakers for their districts.... more »
  • Back in session: Higher education, healthcare could face cuts

    March 14, 2016 8:51 PM

    BATON ROUGE - The new legislative session began today, and Governor John Bel Edwards delivered grim news to lawmakers regarding the state budget in his opening address. Lawmakers didn't raise enough money in the special session to keep critical services from being cut. Under state law, they can't raise... more »
  • New legislative session, same budget problems

    March 14, 2016 6:55 AM

    BATON ROUGE- Louisiana's lawmakers are kicking off a new legislative session, with the same financial problems that have kept the state staggering from one budget crisis to the next. The House and Senate were unable to fully dig out of the budget gaps in a contentious special session on taxes... more »
  • Louisiana budget shortfall could still top $50 million

    March 10, 2016 5:06 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Tax bills were rushed through in such frenzy in the final minutes of the special legislative session that the governor, lawmakers and their financial advisers were still trying Thursday to sift through the implications. This year's budget could be out of balance anywhere from $30 million... more »
  • What happened? Lawmakers sifting through what passed, failed

    March 10, 2016 1:27 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Tax bills were rushed through in such frenzy in the final minutes of the special legislative session that the governor, lawmakers and their financial advisers are still trying to sift through the implications. This year's budget could be out of balance anywhere from $30 million to $50... more »
  • Jindal-era tax credit maneuver repealed by state lawmakers

    March 9, 2016 3:32 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Lawmakers have taken a shot at former Gov. Bobby Jindal in the special legislative session, giving final passage to a measure aimed at refuting his budget practices. The House and Senate agreed Wednesday to repeal a heavily-criticized tax credit, called SAVE, that Jindal pushed to protect his... more »
  • Alcohol taxes to rise after rate hike receives final passage

    March 9, 2016 3:30 PM

    BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's drinkers will soon be paying more for their wine and beer. A bill to boost the tax rates charged on alcohol won final passage Wednesday with a 71-23 House vote. The measure heads to Gov. John Bel Edwards, who supports the tax hike to help balance... more »
  • Who will pay? A look at tax bills approved by lawmakers

    March 9, 2016 9:56 AM

    BATON ROUGE- Louisiana's lawmakers are wrapping up work Wednesday in a special legislative session aimed at balancing this year's budget, with decisions on several tax proposals that could help drum up more money for the state treasury still pending. Here's what passed and what's still pending in the final hours:... more »
  • Special session deadline looms at the capitol Play Video

    March 9, 2016 12:03 AM

    BATON ROUGE - A deadline looms at the state capitol. By the end of Wednesday, the special session called to deal with the state's budget woes will be over. It'll be a busy day. Lawmakers have to find another $200 million. Accomplishing that could be easier said than done; They've... more »

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