The state budget is in the hole by about $600 million dollars, but lawmakers on the House side have ok'd a budget totaling close to $26 billion dollars.

The safety net hospitals for the poor and uninsured (like University Health in Shreveport) are among the top priorities in this budget package. In fact, the hospitals are a higher priority that the TOPS college tuition program.
After squabbling over the proposal for a couple of days, the House voted 82-17 for the proposal to pay for state government operations in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

House leaders' attempts to protect the TOPS program, estimated to cost nearly $300 million next year to pay for all eligible students, failed. Instead, lawmakers in the lower chamber voted to move money to protect the hospitals, saying cuts could damage health care services and medical training programs.

What will this mean for TOPS? It will be $72 million short of full funding.

The budget bill is now headed to the Senate.