Public colleges get $18M cut in Governor’s deficit-closing plan

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – The Latest on Louisiana’s continuing budget gaps (all times local):

11:50 a.m.

Louisiana officials are considering another state debt refinancing, hoping it may save the state some money as it struggles through repeated budget gaps.

Gov. John Bel Edwards’ chief budget adviser, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, asked staff of the Bond Commission to look into the idea. Dardenne said Thursday the Edwards administration hasn’t decided if it will seek a debt refinancing, but wants to investigate all possibilities as the state looks for ways to rebalance the budget.

The state has a more than $300 million deficit to close from the budget year that ended June 30, and another gap is expected in the current budget year.

Louisiana refinanced debt earlier this year to generate quick cash. At the time, the state’s financial adviser recommended against doing the same maneuver again.

___

11:30 a.m.

Gov. John Bel Edwards is planning an $18 million cut to public colleges to help close a state budget deficit, only months after higher education leaders thought they had escaped reductions.

The cut is about 2 percent of colleges’ general state financing.

But the largest piece of Edwards’ proposal to close a more than $300 million gap involves delaying $152 million in payments to health providers that care for Medicaid patients. The payments will be moved into the next fiscal year.

Legislative leaders who were briefed on the plans ahead of a Friday presentation to the joint House and Senate budget committee described the proposals.

Many cuts can be made without legislative approval.

The deficit is from the budget year that ended June 30, when state income fell below projections.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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