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Speical session ends in failure; TOPS cut thirty-percent

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BATON ROUGE- Frustrated state lawmakers shouted at each other in the House of Representatives late Monday night as last-ditch efforts to raise sales taxes failed. The $29 billion state budget beginning July 1 is short $540 million with pro-rata cuts to services including the TOPS college scholarship program.

TOPS will only be funded at 70 percent for next year under the budget passed Monday night. Governor John Bel Edwards is considering a veto.

"We are not going to allow this to happen, we will make sure TOPS is funded," said Edwards.

Attempts to replace an expiring one-cent sales tax with a half-cent tax failed by six votes Monday night. Edwards said he will call a third, shorter special session this year before July 1 to try again.

Last ditch efforts to pass the half-cent sales tax in the House before the midnight deadline met resistance from Edward's rivals.

"Yes I am trying to run the clock out," said Rep. Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport) who objected to the last minute attempt to revive the bill.

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