House Appropriations begins discussing the budget, and once again it's the committee's plan to hold back $206 million dollars in spending to avoid a midyear shortfall. But Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says if money isn't appropriated, it won't be available during the course of the year in the event of a shortfall.
"You can't wait to appropriate," said Dardenne. "In the event that money is not appropriated, agencies very well could be hit with the immediate needs that they have to expend in order to deal with a crisis."
But Covington Representative John Schroder says needs and wants are not relevant, but this is about what the state can afford.
"And that's it. Because if we had more, then I'd fund everything," said Schroder. "But we have to have the money. This is really about whether we have the money or not."
Dardenne says he doesn't understand why the committee doesn't want to consider the budget plan the Senate approved, as it protects critical state services, and finally fully funds higher ed.
"We've been saying that after a decade of not keeping higher ed at any reasonable level, we propose not to cut them this year," Dardenne said. "You're proposing to cut them."
House Republicans argue they want to hold back money because the amount the revenue estimating conference predicts the state will have to spend is wrong more often than not.
Denham Springs Representative Valarie Hodges says there is an 86% chance that the dollars won't be there, and it's not that they want to cut these agencies.
"But I know when hard working families have to make a reduction in their spending, they don't go out to eat as much, they don't go to the movies," said Hodges. "You have to cut back."