- Associated Press - Monday, February 20, 2017

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Latest on Louisiana’s budget-rebalancing special session (all times local):

6:15 p.m.

House and Senate leaders say they are nearing a deal on how to close a $304 million deficit.

The plan, outlined Monday by House Speaker Taylor Barras and Senate President John Alario, would use between $90 million and $99 million from Louisiana’s “rainy day” fund to lessen cuts.

Other available dollars would plug gaps. Cuts to agencies would range from about $80 million to $90 million. How those cuts would be divvied up remains unclear.

To make a deal possible, Barras has to persuade 69 other House lawmakers to tap into the rainy day account, a vote he acknowledges will take some work.

The Senate has to pass Barras’ legislation to make across-the-board cuts to dedicated revenue sources agencies receive in future budget years.

The special session must end Wednesday.

___

3:25 p.m.

Gov. John Bel Edwards supports the Senate’s proposal for closing Louisiana’s budget deficit.

Edwards spokesman Richard Carbo said Monday the governor believes the Senate “has passed an acceptable compromise.”

Edwards wanted to use nearly $120 million from the state’s “rainy day” fund to help fill the gap, other reserves and $60 million in cuts.

The House budget-rebalancing proposal would use $75 million from the rainy day account.

Edwards and senators say the $115 million in cuts required under the House proposal would be too deep, damaging security in state prisons, the rural hospitals and the education department.

The Senate rewrote the budget proposal to cut around $80 million and use $99 million in rainy day money.

Time is running short to reach a deal. The special session must end Wednesday.

___

10:30 a.m.

Lawmakers in the state House and Senate have staked out their positions, each drawing up proposals to close Louisiana’s $304 million deficit.

Now, the two sides have three days remaining in the budget-rebalancing special legislative session to reach a deal. The session must end Wednesday.

The central disagreement remains how deeply to cut state spending in the remaining four months of the budget year versus how much to tap into Louisiana’s “rainy day” fund.

Gov. John Bel Edwards wants the Legislature to use the full $119.6 million available.

The House backed a plan that would use nearly $75 million, with some Republicans resistant to using money from the savings account at all.

The version of the budget-rebalancing proposal backed by the Senate would use $99 million from the fund.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide