BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Gov. John Bel Edwards is laying out his final executive budget proposal on Friday morning. Edwards said, “We are in so much better shape today.”
Gov. Edwards said there have been six consecutive surpluses. Edwards emphasized that when he took over as governor, the state general fund was $2 billion short.
Gov. Edwards said the $45 billion budget presented on Friday is balanced. He said they’re aware of both inflation and supply chain issues that affect every state agency. According to Edwards, DOTD will receive millions for projects that come in over cost.
The governor is asking for another teacher pay raise. Specifically, the first proposal includes $2,000 for teachers and $1,000 for support staff. Edwards then asked for an increase in teacher pay in the amount of $3,000 after the May REC estimates come in. If that raise comes through, Edwards said Louisiana would then sit around the regional average.
Gov. Edwards then asked once more that the law enforcement supplemental pay increase be made permanent. Edwards also tackled the subject of a minimum wage increase. The governor said, “$7.25 an hour, it’s unacceptable, it was unacceptable in 2016, I think its downright immoral in 2023.” Edwards plans to up the minimum wage for state employees to $10 an hour.
Edwards is wrapping up his second term and cannot seek re-election.
The budget presentation started at 10:15 a.m. inside the Louisiana State Capitol.