House considers compromise on $25B budget for next year
House Republicans floated a proposal today to cut $268 million out of next fiscal year's budget through possible furloughs for state workers, reductions to overtime pay and elimination of vacant jobs, among other measures to offer the Jindal administration for consideration. House lawmakers were trying to reach a compromise over the $25 billion budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, which begins July 1, having deadlocked Thursday on the financing ideas Jindal supports. Conservative Republicans and the GOP governor are at odds over whether to use one-time cash to piece together next year's spending plans—or to make deeper cuts to state agencies. A bloc of Republican lawmakers say the one-time dollars create false expectations in state agencies, paying for services the state can't afford year after year. Other lawmakers and the Jindal administration say stripping the money would force harmful cuts to colleges and health care programs. The compromise proposal offered by Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Jefferson, vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, would give the governor's Division of Administration a list of nine ways to cut the budget. The administration would have to choose $268 million in reductions out of the $357 million list. "It's just a menu, just like when you go to the restaurant. Pick the ones you like," Henry says. Democratic lawmakers, who are siding with Jindal on the budget bill, call the Henry proposal an abdication of legislative authority. Get the full story from The Associated Press here.
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