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Jul 1, 2010 4:50 AM

La's new budget year begins Thursday

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) Louisiana's new budget year has started.

The $26 billion budget that took effect Thursday includes 1,300 layoffs of state workers and accounts for a more than $1 billion drop in state general fund revenue.

Reductions fall on social services, mental health care, the charity hospital system, the Medicaid program for the poor and education programs. One of the only areas immune from slashing is the funding formula for public school districts.

The budget was written in the final days of the legislative session by the state Senate, using a patchwork of one-time funding to stave off deep cuts to colleges and hospitals.

Critics, including House Speaker Jim Tucker, have called it fiscally irresponsible, saying it doesn't cut enough from state spending to deal with impending budget problems in a year.

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