Louisiana could make first levee debt payment without loan

Louisiana News

FILE – In this Aug. 24, 2020 file photo, Joe Marshall, of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority – West, secures a floodgate they just closed in Harvey, La., just outside New Orleans, in advance of Tropical Storm Marco. Rather than borrowing, Louisiana could make its first $400 million payment in cash to the federal government for upgrades made to the New Orleans region’s flood protection system after Hurricane Katrina. Lawmakers are considering the idea in the legislative session. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana could make its first $400 million payment in cash to the federal government for upgrades made to the New Orleans region’s flood protection system after Hurricane Katrina.

The state’s income forecast got a boost from better-than-expected tax collections in the current budget year that ends June 30.

That gives lawmakers another $357 million to spend, and could be steered toward the levee system debt instead of taking out a loan that would require years of repayments with interest.

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards proposes using cash to cover this year’s portion of the debt. Republican Senate President Page Cortez says lawmakers are weighing the idea.

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