Senate passes half-cent sales tax and budget bills

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Sen. Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte, presented the spending bill that passed the Senate Sunday night. (Photo: Tryfon Boukouvidis, LSU Manship School News Service)

Tryfon Boukouvidis and Kaylee Poche

The Senate on Sunday approved a budget 38-1 that would fully fund TOPS scholarships, public universities and hospitals for the poor while imposing 2 percent cuts on other agencies.

The Senate also passed 29-9 a revenue bill that would raise $541 million by extending half of the extra cent of sales tax that is set to expire on July 1. The half of a cent would expire in 2025.

The Senate effectively challenged the House to renew more taxes than it would like to avoid more sweeping cuts as the special session comes to a close Monday. A version of the bill passed by the House last week would raise $396 million, partly by extending one-third of a cent of the sales tax.

But Sen. Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte, said in an interview Sunday night that he does not expect the House to agree to some of the changes, setting up a tense and dramatic finale for the sixth special session in two years.

Read the story in KTBS.

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