Louisiana House, Senate Overwhelmingly Pass Operating Budget
BATON ROUGE, La. (KPEL) -- The Louisiana House and Senate decidedly passed Thursday a $25.4 billion operating budget for the next fiscal year.
Gov. Bobby Jindal said "both the House and Senate did great work on a fiscally responsible budget that is good for the people of Louisiana."
"I commend the Legislature for their work, and I look forward to signing HB 1 into law," Jindal said.
The budget includes a $69 million increase in funding for local school districts, as well as a $577.83 pay increase for school teachers.
A faction of House Republicans known as the fiscal hawks agreed to allow the use of $80 million in one-time money, according to the Advocate. In return, they won passage of a package of bills that would make it harder to use such one-time money in future budgets.
Peterson, the lone dissenting vote on the budget, said she could not vote for the spending plan because of its dependence on the privatization of the LSU hospital system, its funding for a school voucher system that has been ruled unconstitutional, and for its use of one-time money to plug holes.
"Without serious fiscal reform, the devastating mid-year cuts, emergency measures, addiction to borrowed money, and forced privatization will continue to plague our state," Peterson said. "The people of Louisiana deserve a stable, sustainable and honest budget that presents a positive vision for growth in our state."
Jindal's original budget amounted to $24.8 billion, $600 million less than the final budget. Scott McKay, a political contributor from the Hayride.com, said the "$25.4 billion dollar figure represents more or less what the Revenue Estimating Conference says the state has coming in," according to a state legislator that he spoke to.
McKay also said the budget includes about $2 million for the Southern University System, $1.5 million for the Southern campuses in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and $2 million for the library at Grambling State University.
"I don't know if there's any of that in any of the other colleges, so they're the big winners in this budget as the process has gone along," McKay said. "And if you'll remember, the fiscal hawks and the Legislative Black Caucus got together, and so...it looks like there were some fruits of those labors."
To listen to the complete interview with McKay, click the 'Play' button below.