BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) —  Monday 2:15 p.m.

Lawmakers have agreed to $38 million in spending cuts across state agencies, one of the first steps to rebalance Louisiana's budget.

Combined with reductions made by Gov. John Bel Edwards, the cuts — approved Monday by the joint House and Senate budget committee — have trimmed $60 million from departments.

But that's only a fraction of what's needed to close an estimated $850 million to $950 million budget gap before the financial year ends June 30.

Edwards is asking lawmakers to raise taxes in a 25-day special legislative session that opened Sunday, to help stabilize Louisiana's finances. He says deep reductions without tax hikes would harm public colleges and health services.

The governor's revenue secretary, Kimberly Robinson, presented the tax proposals Monday to the House Ways and Means Committee.


1:15 p.m.

Gov. John Bel Edwards' revenue secretary has outlined the tax hikes the governor is proposing in a special legislative session to help stabilize Louisiana's finances.

Kimberly Robinson presented the list Monday to the House Ways and Means Committee, kicking off tax negotiations with lawmakers who have a short time to vet the ideas. The special session can last only 25 days.

Edwards is recommending increases to the state sales tax, to taxes charged on alcohol and cigarettes and to business taxes, among other items.

While Ways and Means started sifting through tax ideas, the House Appropriations Committee was hearing the worst-case scenario budget cuts the Edwards administration says could happen without raising new revenue.

The governor says deep reductions would hit public colleges and health care services without tax hikes.


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