Gov. Jindal signs $25B state budget into law

Gov. Jindal signs $25B state budget into law - 10 p.m.

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Governor Bobby Jindal signed the state budget into law on Friday afternoon. It will go into effect for the fiscal year starting July 1.

The Governor's Office announced that he signed HB 1, which is the $25 billion state budget. He also issued five line item vetoes with a few citing federal restrictions.

One of the items vetoed surrounds the governor's well-publicized travel schedule.

On the Senate floor June 8, Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, said the governor should pay his own travel costs, not state police, while he's expected to be campaigning for president during his remaining time in office. State Police did not support the idea.

Gov. Jindal also vetoed Friday what he calls a "cap" on the popular TOPS scholarship program.

A different type of cap Friday did not get vetoed.

Many in the local film industry wanted the governor to kill lawmakers' $180 million annual limit on the lucrative incentive that attracts movie makers to Louisiana- the film tax credit.

Critics tell us what the new law will mean.

"People who are trying to redeem their tax credits could easily be turned away by the state of Louisiana saying, 'sorry, we're not going to honor these,'" said Patrick Mulhearn, Executive Director of Celtic Studios.

"This is the eighth year in a row we are signing a balanced budget without tax increases," said Gov. Jindal. "The budget continues the trend of making smart reductions to the size of government, while strengthening the state's health care system and protecting higher education."

Some critics disagree.

9News received a statement Friday from Rep. Kenny Havard, R-Jackson, reading in part, "It is a sad day for Louisiana and its citizens. It just proves again what everyone already thinks about us. We still have two or three folks sitting in a smoky back room handing out billions of dollars worth of contracts with no oversight."

While much of his legislative agenda was tossed aside in April and May, Gov. Jindal ultimately got what he wanted from the Legislature in terms of claiming he didn't raise taxes.

The budget was passed by the state legislature on June 11 and was awaiting Gov. Jindal's signature. An additional $626 million in recurring revenue was raised by several different bills from the House and Senate including a cigarette tax hike.

"I'm proud of the work that we have done this session," said Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols. "We have all worked hard to create a balanced budget that greatly reduces our reliance on one time funding by raising new recurring revenue and creating savings and efficiencies that will be realized every year. As Louisiana's economy continues to grow we will continue to further improve our State's recurring budget structure."

The legislature seemed to satisfy Gov. Jindal with what he called a revenue neutral budget. Lawmaker worked to closed the state's massive estimated $1.8 billion deficit and prevented drastic cuts to higher education and healthcare.

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