Louisiana’s unspent cash proposed for roads, colleges, coast

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Louisiana Budget_1557480478007

Reps. Mike Huval, R-Breaux Bridge, right, and Julie Emerson, R-Carencro, center, speak with Rep. Stephen Dwight, R-Lake Charles, during bill debate on the House floor, on Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Lawmakers are proposing to steer unspent cash from Louisiana’s better-than-expected tax collections to roadwork, coastal protection projects and public colleges, among other items.

Louisiana had a $308 million surplus from the budget year that ended June 30, and another $110 million in unbudgeted money for the current year.

A package of budget bills would use the money to plug gaps in the TOPS college tuition program, pay down debts and cover the fire marshal’s overtime for investigating the burnings of three black churches in St. Landry Parish.

Dollars would be invested in computer upgrades, socked into a savings account and steered to lawmakers’ favored local projects.

Plans to spend the money are contained in three bills. Two won unanimous House backing Thursday and the third will start advancing next week.

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