Senate passes Louisiana operating budget with deep cuts - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Senate passes Louisiana operating budget with deep cuts

By MELINDA DESLATTE
Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A divided Louisiana Senate backed a more than $28 billion state operating budget that would make steep cuts across state government to protect health programs for the elderly and disabled.

The budget approved in a 27-10 vote Tuesday would shield nursing home residents from evictions and keep Louisiana's safety-net hospitals from closure.

But to keep things in balance and account for expiring taxes, senators propose slashing financing to colleges, eliminating the food stamp program and shrinking public safety programs. TOPS would cover only 70 percent of college tuition costs.

The spending plan would start July 1.

Senators say they don't want the budget to take effect, but think it demonstrates the damaging cuts required without taxes. They hope lawmakers will pass replacement taxes in a special session starting next week.

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