LRA backs $80M plan for economic development

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Louisiana Recovery Authority board is backing a proposal to use an $80 million slice of hurricanes Gustav and Ike recovery aid for business projects sought by Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret.

But the LRA board only agreed to that plan after requiring that each project must go before the Legislature's joint budget committee before it receives any money.

House Speaker Jim Tucker says lawmakers want to know what projects will get the money - and wouldn't support writing a "blank check" to Moret for $80 million. Upon Tucker's urging, the LRA board rewrote the proposal to include budget committee review of each project.

The allocation of the $80 million to economic development still needs approval from state lawmakers and federal officials before Moret has access to the pool of money.

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