Frantic Finish to Louisiana Session Is an “Embarrassment”
Things got testy during the final hour of the 2023 Louisiana Legislative Session in Baton Rouge as lawmakers were pushed to approve a budget with several amendments that they had no time to review.
This new budget kicks in at the beginning of the fiscal year which starts July 1. State Representative Raymond Crews tried to object to how things were handled, but the House kept moving full steam ahead with last minute changes to the budget. Crews says "this is embarrassing to see how unprofessional things were handled by our state's leaders."
Governor John Bel Edwards is still trying to figure out what changes were made to the budget, but he does know it contains a 100-million dollar cut to the Louisiana Department of Health.
“It was a complete surprise to me and I suspect that was a surprise to 99% of the members who voted on this as well.”
This cut could also impact how much money Louisiana gets from the feds in matching dollars.
Governor Edwards is also disappointed teachers will only be getting a $2,000 pay raise when he was pushing for $3,000. And this pay increase for teachers is only a one-time payment, it is not guaranteed for the years to come.
Edwards says with the massive surplus the state has right now, our teachers deserve to share the wealth.
If you’re not gonna try to get your teachers to the southern regional average this year, what you’re really saying is we don’t value our teachers in Louisiana the way others states do in the south.
A House and Senate conference committee spent several hours behind closed doors trying to get a final budget deal together before bringing it to the full House and Senate with only about an hour before adjournment.
Senate President Page Cortez says the cuts were made to LDH so we can pay down more debt, but he says lawmakers will make sure health care services will not suffer.
This negotiated budget agreement passed 35 to 3 in the Senate and 95 to 9 in the House.
The only local House members to vote against the measure were Raymond Crews and Danny McCormick.