LA. LEGISLATIVE NEWS - In what may be considered a sign of progress …Louisiana’s House of Representatives approved a spending plan last night to address the looming “fiscal cliff”, that is when the temporary 1 cent sales tax expires June 30th. But the House plan falls well short of filling the estimated $650 million dollar budget shortfall.. as it raises $400 million dollars in additional revenue… which means cuts will still be needed to make up the
shortfall. Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Representative Cameron Henry made a statement that underscored the bill’s shortcomings. He explained “I know the bill is not perfect, we’re gonna try to add some more back”.
Although most state agencies would be spared from massive cuts and the state’s safety net hospitals and nursing homes would also be saved. But the House Plan would cut funding for the TOPS Tuition plan by 10 percent, and services from the Department of Health would lose $100 million in state funding.
An attempt at compromise by a Senate panel was made earlier this week as the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs committee took the House plan of temporarily extending a third of the penny sales tax –but instead make it permanent which would fill the budget gap, but the move was met with considerable objection from GOP leadership.
Rep. Henry said “I think for the sole fact that that money has literally received one committee hearing through the process, and as many of you see here now, we’ve already discussed problems with that bill."
HB1 passed the House in a 96-5 vote. No additional revenue has won final passage at the State Capitol, as the end of the special session must end by midnight Monday. If no budget wins final approval, lawmakers will be forced to hold another special session to adopt one by July 1st.