Bipartisan State Budget Deal in the Works
Thursday House Speaker Chuck Kleckley endorsed a plan that would raise revenue and cut spending.
Earlier this week, the budget was on track to avoid much debate on the floor, but it hit a snag on Tuesday.
Because the House can’t pass a budget that has one-time money in it without a two-thirds majority, the budget committee passed an amendment that cut out one-time funds. That resulted in a 22 percent across the board cut.
On Tuesday, as Speaker Kleckley reported all the bills from all the committees with the tempo of an auctioneer, Representative Katrina Jackson objected to the amendment so the floor would have to see debate.
“I believe that this body should be a part of the process of what’s appropriated to the state this year,” Jackson said.
Since then, representatives from all parties have been busy trying to broker a deal in time for the budget’s scheduled floor debate.
Thursday, Speaker Kleckley praised the negotiations and encouraged representatives to keep an open mind.
“Sit tight. Do not commit to anybody that you will not support the plan when we don’t even know what the plan is," Kleckley said. "Let’s give this plan an opportunity to look at it.”
House Minority Leader John Bel Edwards, who has been a part of the talks, said everyone wants to save higher education and health care from more budget cuts.
“That’s not a path we can sustain," said Edwards. "We can’t be the state we want to be if we reduce funding to higher education in that magnitude. We have to change the structure in Louisiana, and that’s what we’re trying to see, whether we can get together and so that in a responsible way.”
A deal has yet to be finalized.
The budget, and the bill that allows the Administration to sweep one-time monies from dedicated pots, hit the floor May 9.