Edwards proposes $36B Louisiana budget, education increases

Louisiana

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks at a news conference to discuss testing statistics and contact tracing pertaining to COVID-10, Friday, May 8, 2020, at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge, La. (Hilary Scheinuk/The Advocate via AP)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Gov. John Bel Edwards has kicked off Louisiana’s annual budget negotiations with lawmakers by suggesting a more than $36 billion spending plan for next year.

He’s asking lawmakers to use federal pandemic aid to avoid cuts while also steering new dollars to education.

The governor’s state operating budget recommendations were released Friday. The budget proposal is rosier than expected. Louisiana’s tax collections are rebounding, though not enough to match pre-pandemic levels.

The Edwards administration wants to use continuing federal coronavirus aid to close gaps. The budget would grow $186 million next year in Edwards’ recommendations.

Nearly two-thirds of the increase would be steered to K-12 pay raises and college programs.

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