BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) – Louisiana House Republicans and Democrats are still at odds on how to solve the States budget crisis for the upcoming fiscal year beginning on July 1.
This comes as the Republican-led House is introducing a proposal on Thursday, that they say would possibly solve the budget crisis.
“The bill as it stands coming out of the House Appropriations fully funds TOPS, that’s a good thing, but it’s done at the expense of health care, that’s a very bad thing,” said Jay Dardenne, Louisiana Commissioner of Administration.
He doesn’t believe that House Bill 1, will fully solve the state’s budget issues, and the cuts made would be detrimental.
“In Lafayette, for example, Lafayette General has indicated that they are going to close University Hospital. 800 people will get lay off notices, services will not be provided there. It’s a huge multi-million dollar impact on Lafayette,” said Dardenne.
HB1 is the Republican-led House’s recommendation of what state programs should be funded, and by how much.
John Stefanski (R), State Representative for District 42, says he’s still on the fence until he reads the entire bill, once it comes out of Appropriations.
“There’s going to be a number of amendments I imagine, and I’m very curious to see how it’s going to look like when we have an opportunity to actually cast a vote to see if it can pass or not,” said Stefanski.
He says his big priorities for the bill, revolve around TOPS and health services in the state.
“I’m looking to see how TOPS is going to be funded. It’s certainly a priority in my area, as you talked about health care is a priority. I have a hospital in Crowley, so I’m very interested to see what funding will go to rural hospitals, and how much funding will be going to TOPS,” Stefanski stated.
Vincent Pierre (D), State Representative for District 44, says he would not support the bill.
“We understand that we recognize that we can preserve the TOPS, but we also have to save our hospitals and all of the many programs, all of the LSU Health Centers,” said Pierre.
He says these cuts would possibly hurt his constituents in Lafayette.
“We’re still having cuts to our UMC hospital in Lafayette. All of the programs that are important to the people that we serve, Acadiana Legal Services, all of those programs are underfunded. These are the people that not only me, but all of us serve,” said Pierre.
If the bill passes the House, it would move to the Senate.
The Senate would then have the opportunity to send it back to the House to amend any changes, or to the Governor’s desk.
If the bill fails and the legislature can’t pass a budget, lawmakers will possibly have to go back into another special session.
HB1 will go in front of the full house chamber at 9 a.m. on Thursday.
For more information on this bill, visit this link.