La. lawmakers inch closer to finalizing state budget proposal

La. lawmakers starts to tackle task of finalizing budget

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - With $1.6 billion coming from Washington in coronavirus aid, Louisiana has more money to work with than ever before.

“This is a year we’re going to have a lot of money,” said Sen. Mack “Bodi” White (R-Baton Rouge).

A large chunk of that money will go towards things like infrastructure. It will mostly be used for things such as water system improvements and the unemployment trust fund.

“Right now, we pretty much have a stand-still budget, other than a few additions primarily associated with the increase in teachers’ pay and some of the other obligations that we’ve met,” said Rep. Jerome Zeringue (R-Houma).

Gov. John Bel Edwards wanted to see a $400 raise for teachers. The House included that in its plan, which passed. But it was quickly sent back after the Senate Committee on Education wanted to see that number raised to $1,000.

“I think on the thousand, most of us felt like, not every district but most of the districts in Louisiana, teachers through this pandemic, they came to work, they showed up or they went virtual and they taught our kids, and they tried to keep them up. We explained why that was important,” White added.

Currently, the House is debating on an $800 raise, which the Senate would then decide if it wanted to move through or not.

“So, I supposed the Senate and the House, we’ll get together and either that’ll be the number or we’ll talk about that thousand and 500 something more and maybe come to the middle somewhere,” White explained.

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Aside from the teachers’ pay raise, there seems to be bipartisan support for the other items included in the budget. The House said it will take up the package of budget bills on the floor on Thursday, May 6, after it comes out of committee.

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