Baton Rouge, LA-Monday started the special session to eliminate the state’s estimated 304 million dollar shortfall.
Governor John Bel Edwards announced before the Joint Budget Legislative Committee that Louisiana is facing severe cuts to address the state’s financial deficit.
The Governor opened up the session with a passionate speech stating, “I want everyone to forget that they are a Republican or Democrat and do what is best for the state of Louisiana.”
Governor John Bel Edwards suggested that lawmakers tap into the “rainy day” fund which currently has around 120 million dollars. If lawmakers do decide to use the “rainy day” funds, it would prevent cuts to Education, Healthcare, Foster-care, and Child Protection.
However, some Republicans did not agree the best course of actions would be to use the “rainy day” fund.
“If you do that, it leaves us a $120 million hole next year that we are going to have to deal with,” said Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandria.
The Governor suggested that any cuts outside of Education and Healthcare would be up for discussion to decrease the deficit.
Some Democrats believe using the “rainy day” fund should be considered, including Sen. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge. Barrow showed her support of LaCAN by wearing a yellow shirt. LaCan is an initiative of the LA Developmental Disabilities Council to raise revenue for disability services of healthcare waivers.
Healthcare and Education are often the first to be cut when the state is in a deficit. “We have been cutting for the last couple of years and honestly there’s nothing left to cut,” Barrow said. “Every cut we make has a face behind it.”
Last year Governor John Bel Edwards promised and reassured Louisianans that Education would not be cut again, however the TOPS Scholarship was cut 90 million dollars.
Considering the cuts to Education and Healthcare, How much suffering should Louisianans have to endure?