Wednesday, 18 April 2018 19:59

Louisiana Democrats, others on full blast to stop GOP House cuts in budget

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cuts coming capitolDemocrats and those wanting to halt the prospects of drastic cuts are on a full court press. Today, email boxes are flooded by organizations to say no to the Republican Louisiana House of Representative budget for next year. Below are a selection of some of the emails:


TOMORROWApril 19, the Louisiana House of Representatives will debate House Bill 1, the 2018-2019 state budget. A vote to approve the budget in its current form is a rubber stamp on a document that cuts $648 million. Most of the cuts would come from the state's health care system, including hospitals, doctors, and providers who serve the health care needs of our children, elderly, and people with disabilities.  

Several of Louisiana's public-private safety net hospitals have already notified the state that the budget signals a breach in contract and they won't be able to continue paying their employees or offering health care services if the cuts go into effect as proposed.

Yesterday, the chancellor of LSU's medical school in New Orleans pleaded with the House of Representatives to hold off on passing the budget until they can meet in a special session to approve revenue measures. In the words of Dr. Larry Hollier: "I just don't have enough programs to cut to achieve this. And it's not just that we'd lose the schools but over 1 million patients we treat. Please, please help us."

We need your help to stop the budget before it leaves the House of Representatives. Find out who your representative is here. Their name is the first name listed when you enter your voting address. 

Call the House switchboard at 225-342-6945 and leave a message for your House member. All you have to say when you call is:

Hi, my name is _____________ and I live in ___________, Louisiana. I'm calling to ask Rep. ____________ to vote NO on the budget bill, HB 1. Please end the regular session early and go into special session. Pass a budget WITH revenue solutions so that our health care systems can continue to serve Louisiana families. 

If legislators don't end this regular session early, they could run out of time to solve the revenue problem before our hospitals start ending contracts with employees and preparing for the worst. Your voice could help keep our legislature on the right path for the people of our state. Call today.

Thank you,

Dylan Waguespack

#InvestInLa Campaign


There is an important vote in the Louisiana House of Legislators tomorrow and we need you to call your representative to tell them to vote NO. HB1, authored and pushed by republican leadership, is a budget that doesn’t fund critical services in Louisiana and ignores the impending fiscal cliff. Don’t take our word for it- here is what the House Democratic Caucus leadership had to say about it at a press conference this morning:

Chair Robert Johnson:
Democratic leadership is united and willing to compromise to find a solution.

HB1 basically decimates hospitals in Louisiana and doesn’t adequately fund public universities and public private partnership hospitals as well as a number of other things and leaves $650 million of cuts. This is an immoral budget.

House leadership is echoing that we don’t have a revenue issue and a real deficit in Louisiana. This deficit is real and threatens hospital closures, the developmentally disabled, nursing home patients, and students going to universities that aren’t fully funded.

Representative Pat Smith:
The bill is a travesty and injustice. It does ill will to the most vulnerable people in our state.

Representative Sam Jenkins Jr.:
This budget doesn’t reflect the values that we as Democrats hold. It’s unkind, unconscionable and unrealistic. It’s unconscionable because it ignores the needs of the elderly, the sick, and the disabled. It’s unrealistic because our republican friends across the aisle continue to ignore the fact that we are approximately 600 million dollars short of funding the basic services we need in this state.

Yes, TOPS is important- we all recognize that. But what are we doing by trying to hold our best and our brightest here by giving them a scholarship and they’re going to schools where classrooms are crowded, technology is outdated, we’re having difficulty paying and retaining the faculty and teachers?

This is a disservice that we should not continue.

Speaker Pro Tempore Walt Leger:
Obligation. What is the obligation that the legislature has to the people of Louisiana?

With the cuts proposed by republicans, $650 million of cuts remain, the vast majority in the medical school budget… how will our economy survive if billions of dollars of healthcare spending doesn’t happen because we don’t have healthcare professionals?

Current budget doesn’t restore funding to medical higher education.

We are getting emails from colleges and medical professionals asking for us to not pass this budget.


This is worth fighting for,
Stephen Handwerk
Executive Director


Medical school leaders urge budget delay Chancellors from LSU's two medical schools   pleaded with lawmakers on Tuesday
  to hold off on passing a 2019 state budget until the Legislature   has another opportunity to consider additional revenue measures in a second
  special session. Without additional tax revenue, the current $648 million   shortfall would fall most heavily on the state's health care system - causing
  cuts deep enough to threaten the existence of LSU's graduate medical   education programs. While Gov. John Bel Edwards has been vocal about his
  support to call a special session to consider tax increases to close the   budget gap, there is far from unanimity at the Capitol, especially in the
The AP's   Melinda Deslatte reports:"We need   to stop where we are and hit a reset button. We need to not pass this
  budget," said Ghali, the Shreveport chancellor. The chancellors hope   lawmakers hold a special session to consider taxes to replace some taxes that
  expire with the start of the new budget year, to close the $648 million   budget gap. They said if lawmakers pass the budget with the cuts - even if
  they plan to later add dollars - it would send a signal to faculty and   students that the reductions to graduate medical education and the safety-net
  hospitals in which students train might actually happen. "If you pass   this budget, there's almost a sense of finality," (Larry) Hollier, the
  New Orleans chancellor, told the Senate Finance Committee.
The cuts to the state's public-private   "safety net" hospitals would affect medical schools because they   rely on the hospitals as labs for graduate medical education and revenue   streams from patient treatment.

Greg Hilburn of   USA Today Network reports:"Jesus tell me what I'm supposed to   cut," Ghali said. "There won't be any schools." Hollier said
  that even if the Legislature agreed to meet Edwards'   request to allocate enough money to keep open the Shreveport and New Orleans
  hospitals it wouldn't be enough to offset the other closures. "We'd be   in financial exigency (bankruptcy)," Hollier said. "I don't have
  enough programs to cut to achieve this. And it's not just that we'd lose the   schools but over 1 million patients we treat. "Please, please help
  us," he said. 


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