- Associated Press - Sunday, June 24, 2018

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

9:10 p.m.

Gov. John Bel Edwards celebrated the budget and tax deal reached by Louisiana lawmakers.

The Democratic governor declared Sunday night: “The fiscal cliff is now gone, and we have predictability ahead of us.”

The House and Senate ended their third special session this year with a sales tax agreement and a spending plan for the $463 million the tax will raise in the upcoming year.

Deep cuts slated to take hold in July will be avoided. And the tax will be in place for seven years.

Edwards says the Legislature “found the courage to compromise.”

Lawmakers agreed to renew 0.45 percent of an expiring 1 percent sales tax, putting the state sales tax rate at 4.45 percent on July 1. The final deal raised about $100 million less than Edwards sought.


8 p.m.

Louisiana lawmakers have wrapped up their fourth legislative session this year with a tax deal shielding colleges and government services from steep reductions in July.

And they avoided the short-term fix that many feared lawmakers would favor.

Senators gave final passage Sunday to a sales tax renewal to raise $463 million for the upcoming budget that starts in days. Later in the evening, the House and Senate reached an agreement on how to spend the money.

Both measures head to Gov. John Bel Edwards, who backed the long-sought arrangement.

It took three special sessions since February to broker the deal.

And the 0.45 percent state sales tax passed in the final hours of session will remain in place for seven years, a move lawmakers hope will end repeated budget turmoil.


4:15 p.m.

Louisiana lawmakers spent nearly half the year haggling over taxes to balance the budget that starts in a few days. Now, the deal is done.

Senators gave final passage Sunday to a sales tax renewal that will raise $463 million for the upcoming budget.

The Senate’s 33-6 vote was overwhelmingly in favor, and came without the days of bickering and frustration that marked House negotiations.

The bill heading to Gov. John Bel Edwards will renew 0.45 percent of an expiring 1 percent sales tax. The state sales tax rate would fall from 5 percent to 4.45 percent on July 1 and stay there until mid-2025.

The Democratic governor has praised the tax deal and will sign it into law.

The measure is sponsored by Baton Rouge Republican Paula Davis.


2 p.m.

Louisiana’s third special legislative session this year is nearing an end, with a deal on track that will avert hefty cuts to public colleges, tuition aid and public safety programs.

Senators intend to give final passage Sunday afternoon to a sales tax renewal bill that will raise $463 million for the state operating budget that starts in July. That vote will send it to Gov. John Bel Edwards, who is eagerly waiting to sign it into law.

All that remained was for the Senate and House to work out the spending plans for the new money, with the main dispute about how to account for any money that might come in above the forecast.

Still, legislative leaders hoped they could complete those negotiations and wrap up the session Sunday night.

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