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Coronavirus

Louisiana Governor Releases Proposal to Close Budget Gap

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ proposal to close a $1 billion budget gap caused by the coronavirus pandemic would avoid deep cuts to health care and education programs by relying on hundreds of millions in federal relief aid and a portion of the state’s “rainy day” fund.

Under the plan offered by Edwards, Louisiana would use nearly $1.2 billion in federal assistance approved by Congress to respond to the pandemic and about $90 million from the rainy day fund to fill most of the gaps in the state’s $30 billion-plus budget.

The recommendations would require only modest reductions in the financial year that begins July 1. The free college tuition program, K-12 schools and the social services department would be spared cuts entirely, though college campuses and health programs would take hits.

The Edwards administration submitted its reworked budget proposal to legislative leaders Friday night.

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