BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Gov. John Bel Edwards celebrated the budget and tax deal reached by Louisiana lawmakers. The House and Senate ended their third special session this year with a sales tax agreement and a spending plan for the $463 million the tax will raise in the upcoming year. Deep cuts slated to take hold in July will be avoided. And the tax will be in place for seven years. Edwards said Sunday the Legislature "found the courage to compromise."
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - After three special sessions and a boost from congressional action, Louisiana lawmakers used a mix of fixes to balance the state budget that begins in July. The shortfall tied to expiring taxes passed by lawmakers in 2015 and 2016 initially was pegged at nearly $1 billion earlier this year. The gap was closed with better-than-expected income projections, taxes and oil spill recovery money.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Utility regulators have agreed to allow a northwest Louisiana electric company to buy part of the nation's largest wind-power project, the $4.5 billion Wind Catcher Energy Connection project in Oklahoma. The Louisiana Public Service Commission voted 4-1 to let Shreveport-based Southwestern Electric Power Company, known as SWEPCO, to increase customers' monthly bills to pay for a portion of the wind farm's power.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Farmers in two Louisiana parishes with damage from tornadoes and high winds that struck in April can apply for low-interest federal disaster loans. Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says agricultural producers in Natchitoches and Red River parishes are eligible for USDA loans if they suffered physical losses, such as damage to buildings and livestock, on April 6 and 7. Farmers in nine neighboring parishes also may be eligible for disaster aid and can apply.
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