The State of Louisiana will invest more than $99 million in new money in every level of education under the budget proposal presented Friday by Governor John Bel Edwards’ administration at the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget.
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne presented the proposed FY21 operating budget Friday. The administration’s budget is based on increased state general fund revenues it believes will ultimately be recognized by the Revenue Estimating Conference. The budget proposal relies on a combination of improved revenues and strategic cuts to responsibly invest in education and to continue investment in workforce development, with a stronger emphasis in struggling rural areas. The proposal also includes a continued commitment to Medicaid funding to provide much-needed access to health care for the state’s residents.
Gov. Edwards said:
“Looking back over the last four years we have come a long way since the days of billion dollar deficits and fiscal cliffs. This budget is a reflection of that financial stability and continued economic growth. As such, we are in a better position to invest in critical priorities than we have been in a long time.”
“I am proud that our budget proposal invests heavily in early childhood education, with $25 million in new funding, for a total of $45 million over two years, not including a $33 million federal grant that we will receive over next three years. This is the next investment in that effort, but it will not be the last one we make in my term. Early childhood education is my top priority, and I am confident that these dollars will go a long way toward setting our children up for a bright future along the path to prosperity. I am thankful for the Early Childhood Education Commission, advocates, providers and families who have fought hard for many years to keep this issue at the forefront of our funding discussions. While there is much more work to be done in this arena, I am confident that our funding proposal is a leap forward for the youngest learners in our state.”
“Additionally, we are proposing a 1.375 percent increase in the Minimum Foundation Program formula, which will mean around another $39 million for our K-12 schools, to be allocated by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to address needs in our schools across the state. I would recommend that half of that funding be for a teacher pay raise.”
“And, finally, with more than $30 million in new funding for higher education, we can truly say that we are supporting education at every level. All of this continued investment will pay dividends in the future as our people are better equipped to lead prosperous lives and trained to become part of the workforce of the future.”