By MELINDA DESLATTE
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana will end the food stamp program that helps nearly one in five state residents by January, unless lawmakers add more money to next year's budget for the social services agency.
The Department of Children and Family Services is slated to take a cut around $34 million in the budget passed by lawmakers in the last special session.
The agency says that will force it to shutter the food stamp program in 2019 because it won't be able to pay for administration of the federally-funded benefits.
Nineteen percent of Louisiana residents receive assistance from the food stamp program. About half of them are children.
Gov. John Bel Edwards is calling lawmakers into a 10-day special session on taxes later this month to try to fill gaps in next year's budget.