Louisiana gives out about $4.4 billion in tax breaks to businesses and individuals each year. A look at the major categories of taxes collected and tax exemptions in the just-ended 2011-12 budget year, according to estimates from the state revenue department:
Nicholls State University and the University of Southeastern Louisiana are laying off employees.
Louisiana State University, though, says it will cut its budget without firing employees.
The state's public colleges and universities are absorbing a fifth round of budget cuts since 2008. In the new budget, higher education was cut by $66 million, bringing total cuts since 2008 to $420 million.
Southeastern, in Hammond, says it will lay off 36 faculty and staff members and eliminate 80 vacant positions. The university says it's cutting $13 million overall.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals says four new cases of West Nile virus bring this year's total to 14.
It says the new cases include the year's third nervous system infection — the infection's most dangerous form. That patient is in St. Tammany Parish; earlier neuroinvasive cases were reported in Rapides and Vernon parishes.
The other new cases were in Bossier and East and West Baton Rouge parishes. They include one patient with flu-like West Nile fever and two people without symptoms, found in blood donor screening.
The state ethics board has deferred a decision on whether state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member Kira Orange-Jones can keep her elected seat and her job as executive director of the New Orleans branch of Teach for America.
Alainna Giacone, spokeswoman for the ethics board, said Friday that Orange-Jones' attorney asked for the postponement until the panel's August meeting.
State officials say they will send buses to the Iberville public housing development to move residents before Sunday's planned implosion of a former hotel near.
The Times-Picayune reports some residents worried that the implosion, planned for Sunday morning, would shower the development with dust.
Iberville's 400 households are not required to evacuate but "out of an abundance of caution," officials will move residents with respiratory issues from the complex Sunday morning, said Christina Stephens, spokeswoman for the state's Division of Administration.