Treasurer identifies $29 million to preserve funding for education

BATON ROUGE, LA – State Treasurer John Kennedy identified $29 million Monday that can be used to avoid taking money from the TOPS and Lottery funds as part of the mid-year budget cuts.

“The TOPS and Lottery funds help us invest in education,” said Treasurer Kennedy. “We shouldn’t scrape money out of those funds to balance the budget. Education is too important.”

The $29 million was generated by a bond premium on the state’s recent sale of $200 million in general obligation bonds. By law the state can use the premium only to pay debt on state bonds other than those that generated the premium. Using the premium to pay debt service this fiscal year will free up $29 million to spend on other state needs.

Treasurer Kennedy suggested using a portion of the $29 million to restore mid-year cuts that would drain $6 million from the Lottery and TOPS funds. The remaining $23 million can be set aside in case more budget cuts have to be made.

“We need to think outside the box and protect critical education funding. TOPS helps young people go to college. The Lottery Fund is supposed to be dedicated to pre-k-12 education,” said Treasurer Kennedy. “We cannot diminish these important resources.”

Michelle Millhollon
(225) 342-0012