Governor John Bel Edwards has unveiled his plan for resolving a $304 million midyear budget deficit. The governor’s Communications Director Richard Carbo says the proposal calls for using money from the rainy day fund, a large cut to the Department of Health’s budget, and state elected officials would also make cuts to their budgets.
“He’s not going to make cuts to higher education, K-12 education, the Department of Corrections, or the Department of Children and Family Services,” Carbo said.
Carbo says the plan would impose the biggest cut on the Louisiana Department of Health at a $128 million budget reduction. But he says vital services for patients and hospitals that provide care for the poor would not be impacted.
“They’re not going to be defunded, which means they can continue to serve the communities, but more than anything those critical services like the waiver programs will not be cut under this proposal by the governor,” Carbo said.
The governor’s deficit elimination plan will be debated in a special session that begins next week. Some Republican lawmakers have expressed opposition to using $119 million from the rainy day fund to minimize the cuts to state services. But Carbo says using the rainy day fund is a wise fiscal decision.
“We feel confident that folks won’t want to inflict any more pain on the people of Louisiana than is necessary, but the Budget Stabilization fund is essential to that,” Carbo said.