Gov. Edwards specifies $792 million in cuts - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Gov. Edwards specifies $792 million in cuts

Gov. John Bel Edwards (FOX 8 Photo) Gov. John Bel Edwards (FOX 8 Photo)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) -

State officials say four hospitals of last resort could close under a dire budget plan outlined by the governor Tuesday. The cuts would also severely impact TOPS, higher education and grades kindergarten through 12.

Lawmakers are already looking at alternatives.

"I wish I had better news. I don't. We're going to live in the real world," said Gov. John Bel Edwards as he addressed the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday morning.

Edwards said he inherited a budget that was $2 billion shy of what's needed for the coming year, but thanks to the work of the special session, he laid out a new plan to balance the budget that's slightly less painful.

"At the end of the day with this proposal, we're cutting $792 million," said Edwards.

The governor's current plan leaves four hospitals of last resort in Houma, Bogalusa, Lake Charles and Alexandria without state funding, and they may close.

"If they don't get money that will happen, but I am working very hard to find other ways to fund them," said Edwards.

The governor also calls for $183 million in cuts to the TOPS program,  and $50 million in cuts in K through 12 education.

"There is no way to fully fund TOPS given shortages in K thru 12 and safety net hospitals," said Edwards.

Higher education is proposed to take another cut, this time of $46 million.

"They're going to fall directly on classrooms. This is the largest disinvestment in higher ed in the country," said Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans.

The threat of cuts to hospitals and higher education prompted some early pushback from the chairman of the Appropriations Committee. In spite of possible hospital closures, funding remains intact for public defenders and the ethics commission.

"It's nothing against the Ethics Board, but I guess it doesn't make a difference. But if we're not going to lay off 10 people because of ethics, but we're going to close hospitals," said Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie.

"You're going to find that's not going to be enough to make a change in what we're recommending," said Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne.

The governor said he will likely call lawmakers back into a third session this year on June 7.

"I'm asking them to be patient and work with us. There is another special session coming," said Edwards.

"It's essential it must happen. There's no other way to fill up all the holes," said Leger.

Without new revenue, the future looks grim for many state agencies in the fiscal year ahead. The legislature faces a $7.3 million cut under the latest budget plan. The governor's proposal, however, leaves mental health advocacy, military affairs and veterans affairs programs intact.

Copyright 2016 WVUE. All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • 5-year-old boy and two adults injured in New Orleans East shooting

    5-year-old boy and two adults injured in New Orleans East shooting

    The New Orleans Police Department is investigating a triple shooting in New Orleans East early Saturday morning. 

    more>>

    The New Orleans Police Department is investigating a triple shooting in New Orleans East early Saturday morning. 

    more>>
  • VIDEO: Streetcar driver joins second line

    VIDEO: Streetcar driver joins second line

    People riding a street car in New Orleans Sunday were treated to a show from their driver. Source: Regina Wilson FacebookPeople riding a street car in New Orleans Sunday were treated to a show from their driver. Source: Regina Wilson Facebook
    Source: Regina Wilson FacebookSource: Regina Wilson Facebook

    Only in New Orleans!  People riding a street car in New Orleans Sunday were treated to a show from their driver.  

    more>>

    Only in New Orleans!  People riding a street car in New Orleans Sunday were treated to a show from their driver.  

    more>>
  • Source: Delvin Breaux headed back to CFL, signs with Hamilton Ticats

    Source: Delvin Breaux signs with Hamilton Tiger Cats of the CFL.Source: Delvin Breaux signs with Hamilton Tiger Cats of the CFL.
    Source: Delvin Breaux signs with Hamilton Tiger Cats of the CFL.Source: Delvin Breaux signs with Hamilton Tiger Cats of the CFL.
    Former Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux will continue his professional football career north of the border, according to a source. Breaux has signed with the Hamilton TigerCats, the team he played with before joining the Saints. Breaux joined his hometown Saints in 2015 and played in all 16 games. He rose to the top of the depth chart and finished the season with three interceptions. He broke his fibula in week one of the 2016 season and only played in six games that year. In training...more>>
    Former Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux will continue his professional football career north of the border, according to a source. Breaux has signed with the Hamilton TigerCats, the team he played with before joining the Saints. Breaux joined his hometown Saints in 2015 and played in all 16 games. He rose to the top of the depth chart and finished the season with three interceptions. He broke his fibula in week one of the 2016 season and only played in six games that year. In training...more>>
Powered by Frankly