Lawmakers give final passage to $25 billion state operating budget for next year

Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Lawmakers have completed their work for their regular session, agreeing to a $25 billion budget compromise and then heading home an hour early.
The budget deal will finance state government operations in the fiscal year that begins July 1.
It received final approval with a 38-1 Senate vote Thursday and a 104-0 House vote and is backed by Gov. Bobby Jindal.
The two-month session was marked with new legislative independence in crafting a budget deal and with Jindal's central legislative goal shelved on opening day.
The Republican governor proposed a sweeping tax rewrite that would have eliminated Louisiana's income taxes in exchange for higher state sales taxes charged across more items. But he scrapped the plan in a speech to lawmakers on opening day, rather than risk an embarrassing defeat.

Gov. Jindal released the following statement about the budget compromise:

"Both the House and Senate did great work on a fiscally responsible budget that is good for the people of Louisiana. The hard work of legislators from both parties and increased revenue projections has produced a balanced budget that invests in our top priorities and protects our reforms. We've made a $69 million investment in K-12 education and protected our historic educations reforms from last session, including the Louisiana Scholarship Program and our changes to teacher tenure—all without raising taxes. We've also rejected the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion that could have cost Louisianians $1.7 billion while forcing almost 200,000 of our citizens off of private insurance. I commend the Legislature for their work, and I look forward to signing HB 1 into law."

Click here to read Speaker Chuck Kleckley's response to this year's legislative session.

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