BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Louisiana House has backed a $25 billion budget bill that includes deep cuts to public hospitals, colleges and state agencies to remain balanced next year.
It contains none of the dollars that are locked in a dispute with the Senate. The House voted 70-25 Friday for the budget bill, after more than seven hours of debate.
The bill to finance state operations for the 2010-11 fiscal year includes cuts and plans that are expected to be heavily rewritten by the Senate amid a near-stalemate with House colleagues on the budget.
The Senate wants to tap into several pools of one-time cash to avoid some of the government worker layoffs, hospital closures and steep reductions proposed by the House. House leaders are resistant to the idea, arguing the state's budget picture isn't improving and lawmakers must shrink government long-term.