They’re calling it the “doomsday budget”. This fiscal year is almost over and our state lawmakers are still $700-750 million short of balancing the budget. The solution? Either create new revenue or be ready to see devastating cuts to higher education and healthcare.
Commissioner of Administration, Jay Dardenne, explains, “By the very nature of the problem, the most vulnerable are going to get hit in this budget if there’s not some alternative brought forth.”
To avoid massive funding cuts, Dardenne says our state lawmakers could do several things: use money from our state’s rainy day fund, redirect non-coastal dollars from the BP settlement, cut statutory dedications and raise sales and gas tax.
“The solutions require honesty and require a candid discussion with the people of Louisiana about the reality of where we are in this state” continues Dardenne.
The reality is, both higher education and healthcare could lose $131 million each.
“Literally, higher education saying we would have to, in some cases, declare financial exigency, in other cases cut summer school, make significant reductions in a very short window of time to come up with that money. The healthcare option is no more attractive.”
Dardenne says cutting healthcare would mean eliminating all optional Medicaid programs, so say goodbye to hospice for the terminally ill, dialysis and community based programs for the elderly and developmentally disabled.
“This is the doomsday scenario that we as an administration are obligated to present to you based upon the Louisiana constitution. This is not the budget we want.”
The future of higher education and healthcare in Louisiana is in the hands of our state lawmakers. They’ll decide what to do during a special legislative session, this month.