HEADLINES : Louisiana
Senate panel restores $340 million to state budget cut by House
BATON ROUGE -- A Senate panel plugged about $340 million back into Louisiana's budget Monday, rejecting cuts demanded by the House that would have fallen heavily on higher education and health-care services. The Senate Finance Committee also signed off on using $204.7 million from Louisiana's "rainy day fund" to help close a $220 million shortfall in the current year's budget and restored money to keep the state Inspector General's office running.
The additional money, which includes about $267.7 million in one-time money for recurring expenses that was stripped from the budget by House Republicans, could set the stage for a showdown between the two chambers as the session heads into the final week before mandatory adjournment June 4.
Senate Finance Chairman Jack Donahue, R-Covington, said the panel tried to work within the rules established by the House for budget bills. For example, the total amount of one-time money is below the cap set in the so-called Geymann Rule, which limits that category of spending. To put in additional money, the Senate identified specific one-time uses for the non-recurring revenue, Donahue said.