Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne paints a bleak fiscal picture to lawmakers during a budget hearing this morning at the State Capitol. Dardenne says not only does the state have to address a $313 million deficit for this fiscal year, there’s also another $300 million shortfall looming. He says that means state agencies will have to cut back even more.
“You’ll be seeing very real cuts proposed to deal with these shortfalls. These agencies and departments don’t just spend willy nilly. They spend based upon the dollars that you’ve allocated in their budget,” Dardenne said.
Dardenne says once again higher education and healthcare are on the chopping block. He says these agencies need to be setting priorities and preparing for realistic reductions.
“The reason you’re going to see, unfortunately, recommendations in LDH in particular that cut hospitals and cut waiver services is because that’s where the dollars are,” Dardenne said.
Dardenne says the administration plans on presenting next year’s budget to legislators in February, and some of the proposals won’t be easy to swallow.
“You’re not going to see recommendations designed specifically to get everybody all stirred up. They’re going to be recommendations that are very real based upon where the dollars are spent,” Dardenne said.