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|Anders, Thompson view education funding|
State Rep. Andy Anders said he is still hopeful lawmakers will spare at least some proposed cuts to higher education and healthcare, but with the session winding to a close, legislators find their options pretty limited.
Anders said one proposal -- a delay in eliminating the so-called "Stelly Tax" -- could help offset the cuts, but he was not hopeful for the bill.
"We need all the breaks we can get," said Anders, D-Clayton. "But when you're trying to fund higher education with the game plan as it's going on now, I don't know exactly where I am on the deal."
State Sen. Lydia Jackson, D-Shreveport, filed a bill that would delay for three years implementation of a tax break on charitable donations.
At the time, Jackson said her bill would generate more than $118 million for higher education. The state Senate passed the bill by a wide margin.
However, last week, House Speaker Jim Tucker refused to assign Jackson's bill to committee in the House, citing constitutional reasons.
The state Constitution requires all revenue-generating bills to originate in the House.
Tucker's move effectively killed the Jackson proposal.
However, on Tuesday, at least one lawmaker was talking about resurrecting the proposal.
State Sen. Francis Thompson said he expects the Senate to approve an amendment to any number of House spending bills to include Jackson's proposal, which Gov. Bobby Jindal has vowed to veto should it reach his desk.
Despite that veto promise, Thompson said senators will amend legislation sent over from the House of Representatives to include Jackson's proposal.
Thompson said senators appreciate the governor's position on Jackson's proposal, but the Senate is there to do a job.
"We are a separate branch of government," Thompson said. "We all have to function the way we feel is best.
Amending existing legislation to include Jackson's proposal comes as an attempt to overcome constitutional hurdles to the original bill.
Last week, House speaker Jim Tucker refused to assign SB-335 to committee because all tax and revenue proposals must originate in the House, according to the state constitution.
We're going to give him some more legislation that will be coming over where there will not be a question of constitutionality," Thompson said. "They'll have another opportunity to look at 335."
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