Legislators pass $24 billion state budget, end session

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The 2015 legislative session has ended in Baton Rouge, resulting in the approval of a $24 billion state budget that will take effect July 1.

Lawmakers approved the budget Thursday with an 80-19 vote in the House and a 37-2 vote in the Senate. In a decision that was made just 90 minutes before the session adjourned, legislators passed a package of tax bills that will raise an estimate of more than $700 million to help finance the spending plans.Seal_of_Louisiana_large

Governor Bobby Jindal said, “I’m proud that we came together this session to pass a balanced budget that protects higher education and healthcare without a tax increase. I’m also proud that we took back local control of education from the federal government and put us on a path to get out of Common Core. Lastly, I’m proud that we protected religious liberty through an executive order after legislators determined they wouldn’t take a vote on the merits. It’s been a great session and I’m proud of the legislators’ hard work.”

The legislature has worked through many tough issues since the session began April 13, 2015, all while trying to address a $1.6 billion budget deficit without making cuts to public colleges and health care services.

The approved budget will give full funding to state hospitals that are now under private management and will give colleges and universities around the state money to operate.