Hundreds of Millions In Edwards’ Budget Cuts are Delayed Payments
Imagine if, this month, instead of paying your mortgage of, say, $1,000, you skipped it, then told everyone you'd cut your monthly budget by four figures. Well, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune website, nola.com, that's what Governor John Bel Edwards and the bean counters in his administration are doing when it comes to cutting the state budget.
Nola.com is reporting, in a story published Friday, that more than half of what the Governor calls "budget cuts", are, in reality, delayed payments to Medicaid providers:
"Around $300 million of the $672 million in budget cuts Gov. John Bel Edwards has been claiming the state made over the past two years can be attributed to delayed payments to the organizations who run Louisiana's Medicaid programs, the Louisiana Department of Health confirmed...contradicting statements from the governor's office earlier this week."
While the governor has stated repeatedly that he has reduced the state budget by $600 million, "the money didn't actually result in any state jobs or services being eliminated. Louisiana will have to pay the Medicaid organizations in full before their contracts expire in two years."
"The delayed payments, amounting to about $150 million, were also counted twice by the Edwards' administration in its list of $672 million in budget cuts. The amount has been held back for two consecutive budget cycles, so the Edwards' administration characterized it as a $300 million reduction - though only $150 million is actually owed to the Medicaid organizations."
As recently as mid-January the governor reiterated that he had cut more than $600 million in state spending over his first two years in office. In August of 2017, testifying before the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne admitted that Edwards cuts were, in fact, "finance swaps", a practice which prevents the state from, according to Dardenne, "will keep us from doing state general fund reductions." Edwards, a Democrat, continues to stand by his $600 million cut claim, despite criticism from legislative Republicans that his answer to the Louisiana's impending billion-dollar fiscal shortfall is to take more money from the citizens of the state.
To see the entire Times-Picayune, nola.com article, JUST CLICK HERE!