BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — With dollars in scarce supply, people packed the House budget committee in a gloomy competition for state financing from a panel where many Republicans say Louisiana needs to pare back its spending.

Tuesday was public testimony day in the Appropriations Committee, when the general public gets its turn to talk about where it would like to see the state's dollars spent in the operating budget.

With tearful stories, people sought boosted financing for health programs for the elderly and disabled. They asked for more dollars for rural hospitals. They requested increased staffing levels at state facilities that care for people with disabilities and mental health problems.

But with the tight state budget and House Republican leaders resistant to tax hikes, it's unclear how much success the requests will have.

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