First Budget Funds TOPS, Leave Hospitals on Life Support
The House Appropriations Committee has drafted the first budget to submit to the full House for a vote. In the new budget, that is attempting to close a 600 million dollar shortfall, the Committee made it clear they want and have every desire to fully fund TOPS and GO grants. Members decided to allocate the bulk of $346 million in newly-recognized revenue from new Federal Tax laws to TOPS ($233 million) and GO Grants ($13 million) for low income students to attend college.
However, to balance the budget and fund those two programs, several sacrifices had to be made. The new budget cuts 22 million dollars from higher education and leaves safety net hospitals severely underfunded and, according to some, on the brink of closing.
Democrats say the new bill gives false hope to those in Louisiana because they say there is no way the money for TOPS and the GO Grants stay as the budget goes through the legislative process.
Governor John Bel Edwards isn't pleased with the budget either. The Gov says the budget "isn't worth the paper its printed on."