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Louisiana House passes budget proposal for next year

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BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana House has agreed to a more than $24 billion budget proposal for next year that contains fewer cuts than lawmakers had feared but still leaves some public health care programs short.

Lawmakers voted 65-37 Thursday for the spending plan to finance government operations in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

After starting the legislative session with a hefty budget shortfall, the House passed a series of tax changes to raise more money for state coffers. That, combined with money from improved income forecasts and other patchwork financing, would close about $850 million of the gap in the House version of the budget.

Lawmakers estimate they need another $150 million to address the remaining list of financial needs, including money to pay for the LSU hospital privatization deals.

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