Spending Plan For Next Fiscal Year Passes La. House Committee
The La. House Appropriations committee approves a spending plan for next fiscal year that does not contain any one-time money for recurring expenses.
"In order to meet the House rule that we cannot have any one-time money in HB 1 in order to hear the bill on the floor," Chairman Jim Fannin of Jonesboro offered the amendment that removed $500 million from the budget. The La. House has a strong policy against one-time dollars for yearly expenses. Fannin says the removal of one-time dollars from the state's $24 billion budget means a hefty across-the-board reduction in funding for state agencies.
Every agency would be reduced by 22 percent in order to take that money out, the one-time money.
But a 22 percent reduction in funding for higher education next fiscal year would not be good for the state, says Higher Education Commissioner Jim Purcell.
Higher Education does feel that if we don't have a solid footing this year there will be a lot of gray issues with the campuses.
The proposed budget for next fiscal year heads to the La. House floor, and it will be voted on May 9th. Once it passes the La. House, it will go to the La. Senate, which is expected to restore some of the one-time dollars, reducing the amount of cuts to state agencies. "My hope is that it would be just resolved at another time and place in the legislature before it all comes out. And I think that's the intention, that this will not be the final answer," says Purcell.