Officials leave agency budgets in limbo

State agencies’ budgets are still in limbo after lawmakers left the Capitol on Friday with no agreement on a spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Their departure came only two days after they returned to work in the 2009 regular session. House and Senate leaders are deadlocked on how much to tax hospitals to help pay for Medicaid, and there also are competing plans on how much of the state’s reserves should be used to prevent deeper budget cuts.

Revenues that continue dropping below expectations every month also are making it difficult to balance the budget. Lawmakers stressed they will continue negotiating between now and May 26, when the full Legislature reconvenes.

The situation is causing concern for local school districts that need to know how much money they’ll receive before they can offer teachers contracts for the next school year or recruit new instructors.

Clarion-Ledger
5/9/9