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State budget talks hit stalemate

Louisiana Politics
Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 9:07pm

The proposed state budget comes in at $25 billion for the fiscal year starting in July, but if some conservative members of the House have their way, the grand total will come down by the close of session tomorrow.

About 20 Republican members of the House are standing firm in opposition to $269 million worth of one time money, meant to supplement state programs and services that are already in place. The conservatives are holding that opposition, even as Governor Jindal is in favor of leaving the one-time money in the budget.

Those who disagree with the fiscal conservatives said this money is needed to stave off even deeper cuts to healthcare and higher education. The House went on recess until about seven o'clock Thursday, when the decision was made to come back and continue this debate in the morning.

"Understand for many of us that one-time money out of the budget means much deeper cuts for health and higher education and services to children," said House Appropriations Committee member Patricia Smith (D) Baton Rouge. "So it's very difficult to make those decisions when we know they've already been cut once."

Amendments were passed out to lawmakers that propose cuts across the board to every agency. Those will be discussed Friday as well.

The conservative opposition said fiscal responsibility is necessary going into the next budget year, since the state currently has a budget deficit of $219 million.

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