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In The Spotlight

The 2015 Legislature: A Tough Balancing Act

The Louisiana Legislature starts its 2015 session this week amid a historic budget crisis that was years in the making. Louisiana’s constitution requires a balanced budget, yet the projected gap next year between tax revenues and expenses stands at $1.6 billion. Unless this deficit is plugged in a thoughtful manner that includes new revenues, the result could be deep cuts to critical state investments in education, health care, infrastructure and public safety.

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The Daily Dime

House to take up budget bill; More taxes to fund State Police; Dedicated funds still untouchable and; King Alexander: Legislature holds fate of higher ed

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The Daily Dime is a summary of the day's news stories related to the state budget and issues that affect low- and middle-income individuals and families, compiled every business day by Louisiana Budget Project staff.

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Our Two Cents

by Garrett Clawson

 

When the Louisiana Legislature debated – and rejected – the expansion of Medicaid in 2013 and 2014, nobody really knew for sure how the new system would work. But now, after more than two dozen states have expanded health coverage for low-income adults using federal dollars, we have proof that this approach helps patients and health-care providers while saving money in state budgets.

Unfortunately, this evidence was not enough to persuade the House and Senate health committees, which this week voted to reject the coverage expansion for the third year in a row. This decision means almost 300,000 low-income Louisiana adults will have to wait longer for access to affordable health care.

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