Thursday, June 18, 2009

Senate tries again to fund higher education

The Senate made another run at the excess itemized deductions tax break yesterday, radically amending another bill in an attempt to force the House of Representatives to vote on the issue.

To recap: In order to fund higher education, the Senate previously adopted SB 335, which would suspend an upcoming tax break. The result would be a $118 million cash infusion for higher education.

That bill was stymied in the House when the leadership refused to let it be considered. A majority of House members signed a letter opposing the bill, and Gov. Bobby Jindal promised to veto it if it is passed.

But senators want members of the House to vote on the issue and be on record. So on Wednesday, the Senate gutted a bill that has already been adopted by the House, HB 689 (which would have established a school infrastructure fund), and filled it with the language of SB 335.

The amended bill passed on a 29-6 vote, and will be returned to the House for further action.

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