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Thursday, 26 January 2017 13:02

Lance Harris v. Governor John Bel Edwards on Louisiana Budget woes

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lance harris 4Scare tactic or legitimate concerns?

That is the current issue as Republican Lance Harris and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards slug it out before the Louisiana legislative session begins.

Recently, Harris offered a plan to deal with the Louisiana budget problem which again is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, which over the past two years, have been temporarily fixed with the use of tax increases and budget cuts.

In a recent interview, Harris stated the Louisiana budget has increased 4% per year while the consumer price index has increased by only 2% per year.

Here is more information on twitter regarding this issue.

On Wednesday, Edwards released what it called "additional information regarding the budget proposal from Rep. Lance Harris". 

The plan, released on Thursday, would:

  • Defund every public-private partnership hospitals across the state (Lake Charles, Alexandria, Bogalusa, Monroe, Lafayette, Women’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge, Shreveport and New Orleans);
  • Cut the Department of Corrections leading to the release of more than 4,500 inmates;
  • Make a historic cut to K-12 education affecting more than 700,000 students across the state; and
  • Cut funding for the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. 

“In the year since I’ve taken office, this is the first alternative plan that has been proposed,” said Gov. Edwards. “This plan is proof that it is not only necessary for a special session but use of the Rainy Day Fund is essential. Combining the two is, by far, the most responsible approach until the legislature convenes in April to reform our tax code. I am looking forward to working with the legislature in the coming weeks, but it's clear that no plan will be without pain to Louisiana's families. Ultimately, it's up to all of us to lessen the burden the cuts will have."

Under the constitution, without a special session, spending cuts will be focused primarily on health care, higher education and the Department of Corrections, as evidenced by Rep. Harris' plan. Gov. Edwards is suggesting the use of the Rainy Day Fund to help eliminate the more than $300 million shortfall and considering a special session of the legislature to make cuts across the entire state budget, rather than the concentrated areas that would be cut without a special session.

Following the release of the plan, the Governor's Office has received a growing number of emails and letters in opposition from a wide variety of stakeholders, including (individual letters are linked):

 

Last modified on Thursday, 26 January 2017 13:25
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