Targeted would be $660 million of health program cuts which would include $2.3 billion of federal funds loss. Also taking the hit would be TOPS, a popular program among Republicans.
Following the presentation of the FY 18-19 executive budget to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget, House Democratic Caucus chair Gene Reynolds (D-Minden) released the following statement regarding the executive budget's more than $2.4 billion in cuts:
“As the minority party in the chamber where our state budget is required to originate, we have tirelessly fought for long-term budget solutions that would prevent cuts to Louisiana's most vulnerable working families. Those in the legislature who espouse ‘Louisiana Values’ have a duty to prioritize our people when making tough decisions about our budget. These cuts will be the direct result of more GOP foot-dragging and will cause the loss of life. These are cuts that will break up families. They are cuts that will result in more of our own children going hungry.
Our colleagues have a choice to make and it is immoral to choose these cuts over the many reasonable alternatives which have been debated endlessly, many with the backing of a Republican-led study group. We will not stop fighting for our people, and we will hold those who ignore their duty accountable for the destruction they cause.”
Cuts rejected by the Democratic Caucus, but which are needed to balance the budget unless and until Republicans in the House support common-sense budgeting that reforms tax-giveaways include:
- 800 children with complex medical needs will lose access to pediatric day health care services which allow their families to work and which keep our most vulnerable children healthier.
- 14,000 individuals will lose long-term care services including the blind, elderly and disabled.
- 5,101 children and adults will lose the services that allow them to live at home with their families rather than being institutionalized even as the waitlist for those services grows longer.
- The resulting cuts to Medicaid services will endanger and reduce services through the Department of Child and Family Services for foster care children with special needs, children whose families will become more reliant on foster care and other DCFS services because they will no longer have access to medical supports like mental health and substance use services.
- 39,007 individuals and 989 providers will lose mental health and substance use services just as our state and our country are facing the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic.
- Over $25 million in cuts to higher education will further deteriorate our underfunded colleges and universities, which have already absorbed some of the highest cuts in the nation over the last decade.
- Public safety and successful re-entry of incarcerated people back into society will be traded for increased recidivism because of cuts to transitional work programs and per diems that would put our correctional facilities into a state of disaster, endangering facility staff.
- Cuts to the Office of Juvenile Justice would result in a brand new facility sitting empty in Bunkie, an unacceptable failure that demonstrates the fiscal irresponsibility involved in making cuts of this magnitude.
A reduction of $656 million in state general fund revenues is required to achieve a balanced budget unless revenue is produced through other legislative instruments. That $656 million state general fund cut impacts streams of federal revenues, producing more than a $2.4 billion total reduction.
An extraordinary legislative session would be required to consider other tax reform and revenue generating measures, according to the Louisiana constitution. Passing such revenue measures would require at least 70 of 105 members in the Louisiana House to support the legislation.