Budget Woes At The Forefront As Legislative Session Begins
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — With a hefty budget shortfall in an election year, lawmakers return Monday to the Louisiana Capitol to sift through difficult scenarios: slash spending to colleges and health care, or find ways to raise revenue.
They'll have to maneuver around the national political ambitions of term-limited Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is expected to announce a presidential bid after lawmakers wrap up their work in mid-June.
The two-month legislative session is expected to focus heavily on Louisiana's finances, with the state facing a $1.6 billion gap for the budget year that begins July 1.
Legislative leaders haven't coalesced behind a plan yet.
Lawmakers have pre-filed a hodgepodge of proposals to scale back tax breaks, temporarily suspend tax breaks, raise cigarette taxes, increase college tuition rates and hike fees for state services.
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