(By Melinda Deslatte)

BATON ROUGE, La. — Lawmakers have reached a deal that bails out this year’s budget and keeps colleges and health services from immediate deep cuts.

But the tax agreement struck in the final minutes of the special session leaves next year’s budget short of the money needed to keep them from the threat of hefty slashing on July 1. Estimates are next year’s budget could have a gap up to $800 million of what is needed to keep all programs and services operating.

Lawmakers already are talking about another possible special session.

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