Louisiana lawmakers are completing a nine-week legislative session, the Associated Press reports.
They've spent hefty sums of coronavirus recovery money, worked to overhaul the state’s tax structure and found themselves battling over social issues that nearly derailed the financial debates. The House and Senate brokered a bipartisan deal in the dwindling hours of session on a complicated set of tax swaps that they hope to persuade voters to pass in the fall election. The Senate gave the bills final passage Thursday. Awaiting a final agreement was a plan to steer more money to road and bridge projects in future budget years, at the expense of other programs, the AP reports.
In a release, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that he had signed the budget bill.
The budget invests in many of the Governor’s key priorities, including increased funding for education, promoting continued economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and substantial new investments in infrastructure, the release states.
“The budget I signed today is a far cry from past years, thanks to increased revenues and additional federal funding to support the state’s recovery from the pandemic. It makes significant investments in education at every level, provides support for families on Medicaid, those living with disabilities, foster families and adoptive parents working with the Department of Children and Family Services, and promotes access to important services for the elderly. It invests in infrastructure, economic development, public safety and our continued efforts to reform Louisiana’s criminal justice system.
"Louisiana’s budget responsibly uses federal coronavirus recovery dollars in our ongoing response and long-term resurgence following the pandemic, without creating structural budget issues in the future. And, thanks to increased revenues, teachers will receive an $800 pay raise and school support workers will receive a $400 pay raise. These raises are not enough, but they are another critical step forward in reaching our goal of getting teacher pay back to the Southern regional average. In terms of higher education, the budget supports a $19.8 million faculty pay raise, and additional $14.5 million in the funding formula for both four and two year institutions, fully funds TOPS as well as a historic $11.1 million increase in GO Grant funding. All of this is critical to supporting our educational systems as we come out of a challenging year and creating first class learning environments in Louisiana.
"Thanks to bipartisan cooperation and a commitment to responsible budgeting, Louisiana enters the next fiscal year more resilient and ready to resume robust economic growth."
The Governor also issued eight line-item vetoes to HB 1.
Click here [gov.louisiana.gov] to read the Governor’s line-item veto message.
Additionally, he signed HB 516, the supplemental appropriations bill, and issued four line-item vetoes.
Click here [gov.louisiana.gov] to read that line-item veto message.