BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Lawmakers have agreed to refinance Louisiana's tobacco settlement bonds to generate millions in upfront cash that could be used in next year's budget.
Unanimous backing Wednesday from the joint budget committee came despite criticism from Treasurer John Kennedy.
Kennedy says Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration pushed for a refinancing that generates all the savings upfront to plug budget holes. He says that method leaves money on the table that the state could get by stretching out the savings over many years.
Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols says the state will save an estimated $140 million over three years, including $60 million anticipated for next year's budget. She disagreed with Kennedy's claims that another refinancing structure could offer significantly more savings.
The refinancing still needs approval from the Bond Commission.