State Representative James Armes visited the quarterly meeting of the Vernon Parish Retired Teachers' Association.

Armes shared that the main goal of the legislature would be to pass a budget that would address the state of Louisiana’s expected $1.2 billion shortfall.

The expected budget shortfall has been reduced, however, to $658 million due to federal income tax cuts that have recently been passed by Congress.

In addition, Armes recounted the decision by the Louisiana legislature to renew 45 percent of the penny sales tax that Governor John Bel Edwards had initially proposed.

The compromise sees continued funding of education, healthcare, public safety and the TOPS scholarship for the state of Louisiana.

The bill is expected to generate $466 million dollars in additional revenue by next year.

Many needs of the state could not be covered in this budget, however.

Armes stated how many college and universities had to make drastic budget cuts, resulting in numerous maintenance issues for the institution.

The revenue expected to come from gas and oil is being anticipated to help with these institutions.

Armes recounted several other decisions by the Louisiana legislature, noting how Highway 467 has been finished, $750,000 have been appropriated for Leesville streets, $350,000 to a manhole on Columbus Road for sewer drainage and an allotment to finish US 171 North from Wingate Street to the Roundabout.

Armes says he expects the bridge on LA117 to be finished in about three weeks, saying that he expects the state to do an overlay on 171 all the way to LA6.

There are also long-range plans for a four lane Texas highway along with a new bridge over the Sabine River.

When asked about Vernon Lake, Armes said that the project was expected to get underway by September.