House GOP Leaders Rewrite Budget Proposal

 BATON ROUGE - House Republican lawmakers are advancing a rewritten budget proposal that would spend hundreds of millions less next year than Gov. John Bel Edwards wants. The spending plan would protect the TOPS college tuition program by making cuts to health care.

The more than $28 billion operating budget proposal received backing from the House Appropriations Committee in a 17-5 vote Monday.The plan would spend $235 million less in state tax dollars than an income forecasting panel projects Louisiana will receive. Edwards wants to use all dollars available. House Republican leaders worry the projections are too rosy.

Most of the money was stripped from the health department, to keep it at current year state financing. But the committee then voted to cut the agency $82 million to fully fund TOPS.

A look at the vote on the budget bill:VOTING IN SUPPORT: Chairman Cameron Henry, R-Metairie; and Reps. Mark Abraham, R-Lake Charles; Beryl Amedee, R-Gray; Tony Bacala, R-Prairieville; Larry Bagley, R-Stonewall; Johnny Berthelot, R-Gonzales; Charles "Bubba" Chaney, R-Rayville; Rick Edmonds, R-Baton Rouge; Franklin Foil, R-Baton Rouge; Lance Harris, R-Alexandria; Bob Hensgens, R-Abbeville; Jack McFarland, R-Winnfield; Blake Miguez, R-Erath; Steve Pylant, R-Winnsboro; John Schroder, R-Covington; Scott Simon, R-Abita Springs; and Jerome "Zee" Zeringue, R-Houma.

VOTING AGAINST: Reps. James Armes, D-Leesville; Robert Billiot, D-Westwego; Gary Carter, D-New Orleans; Walt Leger, D-New Orleans; and Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge.

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