BATON ROUGE — On Wednesday, Gov. John Bel Edwards praised the passage of a compromise bill that makes strategic spending cuts and budget adjustments to eliminate the current year’s $304 million budget shortfall. The agreement spares critical programs, such as higher education, K-12 education, public safety and law enforcement from deep, unnecessary mid-year cuts and minimizes cuts to the state’s partner hospitals. As part of the proposal, the legislature agreed to use $99 million from the Budget Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy Day Fund.
“Eliminating a mid-year budget shortfall is not easy, especially when there are only four months left in the fiscal year,” said Gov. Edwards. “No plan was going to be perfect, and unfortunately, we were forced to choose between the best of several bad options. However, this final plan is a responsible, bipartisan solution that makes the spending cuts and budget adjustments we need, while still preserving critical programs the people of Louisiana rely upon. I appreciate the hard work of many of the members of the legislature who were willing to work together to solve this problem.
“We have more hard work ahead of us in April when we begin the process of structurally reforming our budget and tax system to reduce the frequency of mid-year deficits. That is going to take the input of every member of the legislature, as well as the public. If we are successful, we will put Louisiana on a path to long-term prosperity that eliminates the frequency of mid-year budget cuts that limit our ability to provide critical services to our people.”
The final agreement represents a compromise between Gov. Edwards’ initial proposal and legislation passed by the House of Representatives. As part of the final deal, the legislature will use $99 million from the Budget Stabilization Fund, roughly 83 percent of the amount in the governor’s original proposal, to avoid cuts to higher education, K-12 education, public safety and law enforcement. In addition to making spending cuts across state government, the final plan includes:
- $2 million from the Legislative Auditor’s escrow account
- Less than 1 percent reduction to the state’s public-private partnership hospitals
- Varying cuts from the Office of the Governor, the legislature and other state agencies