DALLAS — Louisiana lawmakers sent a $26 billion operating budget to Gov. Bobby Jindal on Sunday night after the House reluctantly agreed to the Senate’s version of the fiscal 2011 spending plan.
Lawmakers worked all weekend to resolve the budget impasse before the regular session ended at 6 p.m. Monday.
The House voted 68 to 34 to approve the Senate’s version of HB 1, which restored many of the spending cuts contained in the House bill.
Representatives also accepted the Senate’s changes to HB 1358, the supplemental budget bill for fiscal 2010.
The revised legislation resolves a $580 million revenue shortfall before the fiscal year ends June 30.
The revenue hole is being filled with collections generated by a tax amnesty program and by $198 million from the budget stabilization fund.
House Speaker Jim Tucker, R-Tarrytown, wanted to fund $319 million of the revenue shortfall now and delay balancing the fiscal 2010 budget later this year. Jindal and Senate leaders wanted to resolve the imbalance before the legislative session ended.
The governor said he favored the Senate version of the supplemental budget bill because it incorporated lower revenue estimates by state economists that the Revenue Estimating Conference had refused to recognize.
The conference was to meet Monday to officially certify the funds in the rainy-day fund and the tax amnesty collections for use in fiscal 2010.
The supplemental budget bill includes Jindal’s request for $76 million from the state’s fiscal 2009 surplus for the retirement of state debt and defeasance of state bonds.
The provision stipulates that this occurs before June 30.
Jindal on Sunday afternoon sent letters and e-mails to House members urging approval of the Senate budget plan. He said he would sign the measure.
“I believe that it is a responsible budget that takes into account the new projected deficits,” the Republican governor said. “It also makes targeted reductions to balance the budget, while protecting critical state services.
The Senate budget restored all but $70 million of the $398 million cut by the House from the executive budget Jindal proposed.
Remaining reductions in the fiscal 2010 operating budget include $25 million cut from the level requested in the executive budget, $25 million less for health care, $5 million less for the state system of public hospitals, and a $10 million reduction for state agencies.
The revised budget eliminates nearly 3,000 state jobs, including about 1,300 that are currently filled.