BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Lawmakers in the House have taken their hand at crafting next year's $25 billion budget.
The Appropriations Committee on Monday reshuffled dollars in the 2014-15 spending plans submitted by Gov. Bobby Jindal.
The committee filled gaps in public school funding, the free college tuition program known as TOPS and prisoner housing at local sheriff's jails. They kept new spending for high-demand programs at public colleges and for state worker pay raises.
Lawmakers proposed new cuts in state contracts and removal of some vacant jobs so state agencies won't be able to fill them. They also are proposing $76 million in new cuts across departments that Jindal's top budget adviser, Kristy Nichols, says can be done without shrinking services.
The full House plans to debate the budget bill on May 8.