House Approves Budget that Would Devastate Hospitals
Some tweaks were made to the budget, but the Louisiana House has endorsed a spending plan that could mean dramatic cuts for health care across the state.
Governor John Bel Edwards says these cuts would have a catastrophic impact on the state's health and economy with deep cuts to services for poor, disabled and elderly people. In fact, the Governor says if this budget gets to his desk, he will not sign it.
The $27 billion budget proposal passed on a 55-47 vote and is now headed to the Senate Finance Committee The Governor says "the Senate cannot fix this budget. It is short too much revenue."
Dr. Jim Henderson, President of the University of Louisiana System tells KEEL News "we're held stable in our direct funding, but we are disappointed that this budget does not fully fund TOPS. We must fulfill the TOPS promise to our students."
The state is facing a deficit of close to $650 million when the temporary taxes go off the books on June 30th. The Governor wants lawmakers to end the regular session early so they can go into another special session to try to close the gap.
"We need a special session to maintain more of the revenue that's falling off the table," he said. "The sooner the better."
The big concern for Shreveport is funding for the state's safety net hospitals. Some say this budget plan would force the local hospital to close. Hospitals in New Orleans, Monroe, Lafayette and Bogalusa would also be in jeopardy.
Here's how lawmakers voted on the budget:
Voting Yes (55): Speaker Barras, Reps Abraham, Abramson, Amedee, Bacala, Bagley, Berthelot, Bishop, Carmody, S. Carter, Coussan, Crews, Davis, DeVillier, Dwight, Edmonds, Emerson, Falconer, Foil, Garofalo, Guinn, L. Harris, Hazel, Henry, Hensgens, Hilferty, Hodges, Hoffmann, Hollis, Horton, Howard, Huval, N. Landry, Leopold, Mack, Magee, McFarland, Miguez, G. Miller, Jay Morris, Jim Morris, Muscarello, Pearson, Pugh, Pylant, Richard, Schexnayder, Seabaugh, Simon, Stagni, Stefanski, Talbot, Thomas, Wright and Zeringue.
Voting No (47): Reps. Anders, Armes, Bagneris, Billiot, Bouie, Brass, C. Brown, T. Brown, G. Carter, R. Carter, Chaney, Connick, Cox, Danahay, Duplessis, Franklin, Gaines, Gisclair, Glover, Hall, J. Harris, Havard, Hunter, Ivey, Jackson, James, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Jones, Jordan, T. Landry, LeBas, Leger, Lyons, Marcelle, Marino, D. Miller, Norton, Pierre, Pope, Reynolds, Shadoin, Smith, Stokes, Thibaut and White.
Not Voting (3): Reps Carpenter, Cromer and Hill.