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Reports on Louisiana politics, government and the people shaping state policy.

Budget talks begin at the Legislature as deficit looms

The Louisiana State Capitol on April 4, 2023, in Baton Rouge, La.
Stephen Smith
The Louisiana State Capitol on April 4, 2023, in Baton Rouge, La.

The regular session in Louisiana is underway with lawmakers holding legislative committee meetings this week.

In the House, lawmakers on the Appropriations Committee began discussing the state’s budget. They heard testimony from the state’s department of health and department of children and family services. Both asked for a slight increase to help offset a dip in federal funds and support programs.

Lawmakers have about $400 million in surplus and excess funds to spend this year. After that’s gone, the state is expected to have a budget shortfall — largely due to a temporary sales tax that’s set to expire in 2025.

Governor Jeff Landry acknowledged the potential deficit at the start of the session. And he’s asked lawmakers and state agencies to exercise prudence with their spending and look for ways to save money.

Lawmakers have to pass a budget before the session ends on June 3.

Molly Ryan is a political reporter and covers state politics from the Louisiana Capitol.

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