With Louisiana facing a deficit of more than $300 million dollars, some Republican lawmakers say now might be the time to use the Rainy Day Fund to reduce the mid-year budget deficit.

But Alexandria Representative Lance Harris, who chairs the House Republican Delegation, says the state has to stop dipping into the Rainy Day Fund every time it has budget troubles.

“So we need to come to the realization that we cannot keep using one time money to fix an ongoing problem.”

But Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says using the Rainy Day fund could be a way to avoid drastic cuts to higher education and healthcare.

“And already having cut $313 million out of the budget this year to make up for last year’s shortfall, to cut another $300 million plus, is going to prove to be very painful.”

Harris says when he entered the legislature five years ago, the Rainy Day Fund had over $850 million in it, and today it has $357 million. He says the state has a spending problem.

“It’s like somebody taking out of the retirement and never putting it back in and at the end of the day their assets have depleted and they have nothing. That’s what I’m concerned about.”

What has to happen to use the money from the RDF? It takes a 2/3 vote in both the House and Senate.  And Dardenne says even with the Rainy Day Fund, more cuts would still be required.

“We’re using this one time money to address what we hope would be one time cuts in the current fiscal year. This is precisely what the Rainy Day Fund was set up for.”

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