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BATON ROUGE - Louisiana Senate President said Monday he expects his colleagues to pass a budget that fully funds the TOPS scholarship program.

"In order to do that we may have to move some monies around that the House of Representatives did not allocate," said Alario.

Three weeks ago the House passed its version of next year's state budget. TOPS was fully funded but services for poor people took a big hit.

"There's some things like Family and Children Services that would be left underfunded," Alario said. "We have a lot of children that are abused and need to be rescued. I think that's a top priority for us."

The House shorted next year's budget in its proposal by a few percentage points. House Republicans want to spend less money than the state expects to collect to avoid the troublesome mid-year cuts that have plagued Louisiana for years.

"I think in theory it's a good point," Alario said. "You ought to put some money to the side if you still have some. But it just so happens we are still far short to take care of basic needs in this state."

Alario expects the Senate to fill in the budget holes before sending it back to the House. Lawmakers have until June 8th to find a compromise.

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