Louisiana Senate panel moves budget bills to floor

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA/WGMB) — The Louisiana Senate’s budget committee advanced state budget bills Wednesday, including one that would freeze pay raises for public workers.

The state’s $34 billion operating budget would include more than half a billion dollars in federal COVID-19 aid, after the coronavirus pandemic poked a nearly $1 billion hole in state revenue. Using the funds would keep some state agencies funded as is, with others weathering modest cuts.

Members of the Senate Finance Committee suggested pay freezes as a way to avoid layoffs in state government. Lawmakers would have the option of raising salaries later, should economic conditions brighten.

The freezes would still require approval from the state’s civil service commission.

The budget bills head next to the Senate floor, with hearings likely Friday. State lawmakers must finish their business by Tuesday, as next year’s budget must take effect July 1.

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