With hours to spare, the Louisiana House and Senate agree on a plan to cover the $304-million shortfall in the current year's budget. Governor John Bel Edwards admits "it wasn't pretty, and in many respects it was harder I think than it needed to be."
The most controversial element was using dollars from the Rainy Day Fund. The two chambers agree on $99-million which is less than Governor proposed and more than House members were initially willing to use.
The governor is pleased that the compromise protects K-12, higher-ed, corrections, and DCFS as his original plan proposed. The governor expresses concern about $11-million is savings from attrition, by not filling vacant state positions.
Lawmakers return for the regular session in April and are expected to consider budget and tax reform, long term solutions to the ongoing deficit problem.