By MELINDA DESLATTE
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Gov. Bobby Jindal is using a mix of cuts, 1-time patches and hiring freeze savings to close a nearly $166 million budget gap.
Cuts are planned to doctors and hospitals that care for Medicaid patients. Programs that provide hospice care for the poor and disabled and dental benefits to pregnant women will be eliminated.
Public colleges will be hit with a $22 million drop to state funding. The Jindal administration says the cut shouldn't be a problem because the schools brought in more tuition than expected and saved millions with a hiring freeze.
Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols detailed the plans Friday.
The gap was tied to a $129 million cut in the state's income forecast, and funding shortages for public schools and the state's free college tuition program, TOPS.
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According to a news release from Gov. Bobby Jindal, the following departments, agencies and/or budget units of the executive branch of the state will be asked to make reductions of the following amounts:
Act 13 - General Operating Appropriations Act: