News for Monday 021516
By Dave Graichen
Governor John Bel Edwards tells lawmakers that the state can’t cut its way out of its fiscal problems. That’s how a three and a half week long special session got underway last night as Edwards told House and Senate members that some tax increases will be needed to address a 940-million dollar budget deficit this fiscal year.
Governor John Bel Edwards says TOPS students will not get a tuition bill this semester, despite money troubles with the popular taxpayer funded program. Edwards says if the state is unable to pay a TOPS recipient’s tuition, colleges will absorb those costs. Edwards says not enough money was appropriated for the TOPS program this year. He says they are about 28-million dollars short. Edwards says while TOPS students will have their scholarships fully paid for this year, next school year is a different story, if the state doesn’t raise revenue to help pay for this government program and others.
Louisiana’s two largest public school teacher unions, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and the Louisiana Association of Educators, announced they are teaming up in an effort to prevent cuts to public school funding. LAE President Debbie Meaux believes they can achieve powerful results by working together. The governor’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1st does not call for a reduction of state funding for public schools and Meaux says the LFT and LAE would like it to remain that way.
The Americans for Prosperity releases a poll that shows a majority of Louisiana residents oppose Governor John Bel Edwards’ proposals to increase sales and personal income taxes to address the state’s budget deficit. A-F-P state director Phillip Joffrion says the sales tax increase would put Louisiana at the highest combined local and state sales tax in the country. Joffrion says their poll shows the citizens of Louisiana were more accepting of the increase of cigarette and alcohol taxes.
The new Conn’s HomePlus store has opened in the Alexandria Mall. According to the store manager, David Dykes, Conns plans to bring more than just appliances, electronics and furniture to the public. He wants to establish Conn’s as a place with “a sense of knowing how to treat a customer and a world-class shopping experience.” Store hours are 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. The store is located between Bed Bath & Beyond and Sears.
The Zika virus may be cause for caution but not alarm. That’s according to state health director, Doctor Frank Welch, with the state department of health and hospitals. Welch says The Zika virus is transmitted by a certain kind of mosquito that is not active in Louisiana at this time. However, People travelling to the Caribbean, where the disease is prevalent, should take extra precautions. Welch says that while the virus is not cause for alarm among most people, pregnant women should take extra precautions.
Baton Rouge PD say a man suspected of shooting two police officers in Baton Rouge has died, but one officer’s back home and the other’s in stable condition. Baton Rouge police said Sunday that 22-yearold Calvin Smith, of Baton Rouge, died late Saturday at an area hospital.
For the second straight year, Lawrence and Varrie Player of Benton has been recognized as the state’s longest known married couple. The Players have been married for 81 years.
Several couples who have been married for 70-plus years were honored at the governor’s mansion last week.