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'Rainy day' fund legislation advances in Senate

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BATON ROUGE - Senators have started advancing legislation that would use Louisiana's "rainy day" fund to help close the state's $304 million budget deficit.

The Senate Finance Committee moved the proposal Tuesday to the full Senate for debate without action, meaning committee members didn't vote in support or opposition of the idea.

Whether to tap into the fund - and how much to use - is the central disagreement of the budget-rebalancing debate.

Gov. John Bel Edwards wants to use the full one-third available, nearly $120 million. Senate leaders support that approach. But House Republicans are reticent to tap the savings account.

After two closed-door negotiating sessions between lawmakers and the governor Tuesday, no agreement was reached on a budget deal. Another meeting was planned Wednesday.

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