Governor John Bel Edwards is seeking legislative approval for his plan on how to spend 123 million dollars in surplus dollars from the last fiscal year. If he has his way, 40 million dollars of the excess would be dumped into transportation projects. Edwards says the money would be spread out across the bayou to improve critical infrastructure.
“From north Louisiana to south Louisiana we will build and replace bridges that are used by over 9,000 Louisianans every day. We will repair roads and ramps to improve traffic flow and safety.”
A total of 80 million dollars will be spent on “strategic investments”.
Ten million dollars would be put into deferred maintenance on college campuses. Louisiana has a few billion dollar backlog of projects that would patch up state buildings. Edwards says many higher education facilities are becoming unsafe due to years of neglect.
“I have seen first-hand the crumbling buildings washed out roads and bridges and moldy library’s at LSU, Grambling, and Southern. Similar issues exist at campuses across the state.”
31 million dollars will go into the rainy day fund, and 12 million dollars will be reinvested into the state employee pension.
The use of these funds is highly restricted, and cannot be dumped straight into the impending one billion dollar budget deficit. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says one time money is not a long term fix.
“We need to make certain that the legislature resist the temptation to take this one time money in the current years excess and try to save part of the fiscal cliff, because this is not the intended use of one time money.”
Edwards’s plans for spending surplus money will be contained in a supplemental appropriations bill that will be debated during the regular session.