Senate Finance Committee hearing public concern on budget bill

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - State lawmakers will hear the public's concern Monday about what is in, and what got left out of the budget bill.

The Senate Finance Committee will hear public comment in Baton Rouge.

Lawmakers who crafted the budget bill expect cuts to address the revenue gap the state will hit this Summer when a penny of the state sales tax expires.

Several special sessions have been held in recent years to attempt to address the state's budget issues.

Each of those sessions ending without a resolution.

State officials have warned that in its current form, HB-1 would close hospitals, nursing homes, and residency programs for doctors throughout the state.

The Senate Finance Committee will begin to hear testimony on the bill, but it all may be for nothing.

The governor has already promised to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

"A bill like that that reaches my desk will not become law," said Governor John Bel Edwards. "That will not guide the operational budget for the state of Louisiana next year. It is unworthy of the people of Louisiana."

Republican lawmakers say the cuts are responsible budgeting.

"This is what a responsible budget looks like, dealing with the actual figures, the actual money that's available to the state today," said Rep. Lance Harris (R) Alexandria. "The state cannot spend the money that it doesn't have."

The governor has called for lawmakers to end the current legislative session early so they can move straight into another special session to address the budget.

Time is running out, however. The new budget year begins July 1.

Copyright 2018 WVUE. All rights reserved.