La. Lawmakers Close Budget Gap

State lawmakers have wrapped up a special legislative session by approving a plan to use $99 million in "rainy day" money to help close a $304 million shortfall in the state budget that ends June 30.

$40 million has been cut from the budget of the state Department of Health and Hospitals.

The compromise fix makes strategic spending cuts and budget adjustments and spares programs, such as higher education, K-12 education, public safety and law enforcement. 

“No plan was going to be perfect, and unfortunately, we were forced to choose between the best of several bad options. However, this final plan is a responsible, bipartisan solution," Governor John Bel Edwards said.

 "I appreciate the hard work of many of the members of the legislature who were willing to work together to solve this problem."

Edwards had orginally proposed using $119 million in reserve funds to balance the budget.

“We have more hard work ahead of us in April when we begin the process of structurally reforming our budget and tax system to reduce the frequency of mid-year deficits. That is going to take the input of every member of the legislature, as well as the public. If we are successful, we will put Louisiana on a path to long-term prosperity that eliminates the frequency of mid-year budget cuts that limit our ability to provide critical services to our people," the Governor said.

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