After three special sessions and one regular legislative session, the budget saga finally came to a close last night. The Louisiana Legislature, Governor Edwards and other state leaders maintained their commitment to present and future students by prioritizing TOPS and by sustaining funding for LSU and other Louisiana colleges and universities.
The Louisiana Legislature has approved a revenue measure that will fund TOPS and colleges.
The Louisiana House passed a compromise revenue measure Thursday afternoon. The legislation passed 74-24. The compromise tax rate does not generate the $507 million requested by the governor, but raises roughly $450 million. Consumers will see a lower sales tax rate next month compared to the current rate.
The House Ways & Means Committee approved three revenue measures today offering a variety of sales tax rates and exemptions. Many House Republicans are backing a sales tax rate of 4.4% with fewer exemptions (HB10), while a large contingent of House Democrats support 4.5%. The possible consensus bill could HB 4 by which starts at 4.5%, then declines to 4.4%, then down to 4.25% over a seven year period. HB 4 would address immediate fiscal concerns while also accommodating the desire for lower rates.
The 3rd Extraordinary Session starts on Monday, June 18, and there is some good news going into that special session. With a small amount of revenue generated in the 2nd Extraordinary Session, roughly $6.5 million was applied to the state's higher education budget, which has a hole of $177 million.
Funding for TOPS and our LSU education is in jeopardy, and I want you to know the facts.
At the conclusion of the second special legislative session last week, the Legislature failed to stabilize funding for TOPS and LSU. Unless the legislature acts before June 30, there will be a 30 percent cut to TOPS, and students will have to pay an additional $2,202 next semester for their educations.
As you may have already seen in the media, the Louisiana House of Representatives failed to pass a revenue bill when session ended last night, leaving the state budget with a nearly $600 million hole. The Legislature did, however, approve a spending plan, but the lack of revenue translates into cuts to state departments, universities, TOPS, public safety, and other services.
The Legislature failed to pass a substantial revenue bill, leaving the budget with a nearly $600 million budget hole. The Legislature approved a spending plan, but the lack of revenue means cuts to state departments, universities, TOPS, public safety and other services.
Today, the Senate approved a state budget that funds higher education institutions and TOPS at current levels (meaning NO cuts), and protect public-private hospital partners. The budget bill goes to House for agreement or, more likely, conference committee.