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Sunday, July 21, 2019

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TOPS the priority as House lawmakers work on the budget

TOPS the priority as House lawmakers work on the budget

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — As House lawmakers work to craft their version of next year's budget, House leaders say the main focus is on protecting the state's TOPS free college tuition program from cuts.

To help close a $600 million gap, Gov. John Bel Edwards proposed to only provide about one-third of the approximately $300 million needed to fully cover tuition costs for all eligible students in the financial year that begins July 1.

About $183 million more would be needed to fully fund the program, which is highly popular, particularly among Louisiana's middle class voters.

The House Appropriations Committee will unveil its budget recommendations on Monday.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Cameron Henry says his committee intends to deepen proposed cuts across other state agencies, like the health department, to protect TOPS.

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