Louisiana lawmakers are still working to find more money to shore up a budget deficit.

Senators poured increased cigarette tax revenue and money from proposed fee hikes into their version of next year's Louisiana budget, to stop deep slashing to public health care services. The Senate Finance Committee adopted 39 pages of changes to the House-approved $24 billion budget proposal late Thursday. As the spending plan advances to the full Senate for debate, public colleges and health programs for the poor would be spared cuts in the fiscal year that begins July 1. This week, the committee made adjustments to House tax bills to boost the revenue raised from the $615 million passed by the House to about $750 million, mainly by increasing the planned cigarette tax hike. Senators plugged that additional money, along with dollars anticipated from fee increases on car buyers, to offset cuts.

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