BATON ROUGE - With fewer than 48 hours to go until the end of the special legislative session, Governor John Bel Edwards outlined the drastic cuts that are scheduled to take place in the areas of health care and higher education if the legislature does not bring in additional revenue to solve the current budget shortfall. For the current fiscal year, Louisiana faces a more than $940 million deficit that must be addressed by Wednesday, Mar. 9 at 6 p.m. For the fiscal year that begins on July 1, Louisiana faces a more than $2 billion deficit. Gov. Edwards has offered the only comprehensive plan to solve the budget deficits that includes both spending cuts and asks for a balance of revenue raising measures from businesses and individuals.
“Since we first identified this historic problem, I have called on the legislature to work with me to stabilize our budget with a combination of strategic spending cuts and a responsible way to raise additional revenue that doesn’t overly burden our citizens,” said Gov. Edwards. “While the comprehensive plan I proposed is not something I wanted to present, it does represent the best path forward for our state.
“There are some who are suggesting that we further ask individuals to shoulder more of this burden to fix our budget without asking businesses to contribute in a balanced approach. Unfortunately, we are running out of time and some members of the legislature appear ready to accept the catastrophic cuts that will take place when we adjourn in 48 hours. If my plan is not acceptable, it is up to those members to offer an alternative, which has not happened. We will be here working until the very end to solve this problem, but if some members refuse to accept this reality, they should be prepared to defend these cuts to their constituents.”
Gov. Edwards proposed a balanced set of revenue raising measures that asked both businesses and individuals to contribute to solve the budget crisis, coupled with more than $160 million in spending cuts.
Gov. Edwards' proposed $160 million in spending cuts include:
To date, the legislature has failed to pass enough revenue raising measures to correct the shortfall and failed to rally behind a proposed set of spending cuts outside of the $160 million proposed by the governor.
If the legislature fails to fill the remaining deficit for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30th, higher education institutions and the health care industry will begin implementing drastic cuts upon adjournment of the special session. Some of those cuts include:
Health Care Cuts:
Detailed information on the cuts to the Department of Health and Hospitals is available by clicking here.
Higher Education Cuts:
Louisiana State University System ($40.5 million):
Southern University System (approximately $4 million):
Southeastern Louisiana University (Hammond):
University of Louisiana at Lafayette:
Nicholls State University ($2.2 million):
Northwestern University (Natchitoches):
University of Louisiana at Monroe:
A complete list of cuts that would take place at higher education institutions is available by clicking here.