Louisiana House wants parishes to help pay state levee debt

Louisiana News

Rep. Jerome “Zee” Zeringue, R-Houma, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, talks with a legislative staffer during the opening day of the Louisiana legislative session in Baton Rouge, La., Monday, April 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — House lawmakers want New Orleans and four neighboring parishes to help pay off a hefty debt to the federal government for upgrades made to the region’s flood protection system after Hurricane Katrina.

The legislation is pushed by Houma Republican Rep. Jerome “Zee” Zeringue. The state is on the hook for anywhere from $1 billion to $3 billion, depending on how long Louisiana takes to pay the federal government back.

The House voted 60-34 Monday for Zeringue’s proposal and sent it to the Senate for consideration. Lawmakers who represent the parishes being asked to pony up the money oppose the measure.

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