Almost 60 years since it opened, the Southeast Louisiana Hospital — a psychiatric facility that gained national notoriety in 1959 when then-Gov. Earl Long was briefly committed there — is preparing to close down its daily operations.
The Times-Picayune reports that the hospital's closing is part of an $859 million cut to the state's federal Medicaid program.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals hopes to send all 176 beds occupied at the hospital to other public and private hospitals in the state.
Louisiana gives out about $4.4 billion in tax breaks to businesses and individuals each year. A look at the major categories of taxes collected and tax exemptions in the just-ended 2011-12 budget year, according to estimates from the state revenue department:
Nicholls State University and the University of Southeastern Louisiana are laying off employees.
Louisiana State University, though, says it will cut its budget without firing employees.
The state's public colleges and universities are absorbing a fifth round of budget cuts since 2008. In the new budget, higher education was cut by $66 million, bringing total cuts since 2008 to $420 million.
Southeastern, in Hammond, says it will lay off 36 faculty and staff members and eliminate 80 vacant positions. The university says it's cutting $13 million overall.
LSU System President William Jenkins says decisions haven't been made about how to strip $329 million from the university's hospital system. He offered no assurances to lawmakers that hospitals and clinics wouldn't be faced with closure.
A leader of Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration warned Thursday that hospital cuts could be worse if state income estimates don't improve to fill the remaining gap in the Medicaid budget.
Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein told House members any additional cuts would "fall primarily on the LSU hospitals."
Even with $523 million in announced health care cuts, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has slashed only two-thirds of the spending needed to close the entire gap in Louisiana's Medicaid budget.
The administration is banking on better-than-expected revenue projections to close the remaining budget hole.
If that doesn't pan out in the next few months, more reductions are on the horizon. And even if the funding does show up, there could be legal hurdles to accessing the cash to fill the Medicaid budget.
FARMERVILLE, La. — Union Parish Schools Superintendent George Cannon says the district is struggling financially for the current fiscal year after cuts planned for the past year apparently didn't happen.
Cannon said some of last year's planned $1.6 million in cuts were not carried out as planned.
The Southern University System is hosting a series of town hall meetings across Louisiana to discuss concerns about the effect of budget cuts on the system's three schools.
The town halls will be held Friday in Lafayette and Alexandria, Saturday in Shreveport and Monroe, on July 24 in New Orleans, on July 25 in Baton Rouge and on July 26 in Franklinton.
SU System President Ronald Mason Jr. is expected to attend the meetings. A news release on the town halls says "enrollment challenges" and increased retirement and health care costs also will be topics for discussion.
Librarians in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes say the loss of $23,000 in technology money from the state is forcing them to put off plans for software upgrades, such as Internet security programs, and hardware purchases, such as electronic readers.
The Houma Courier reports that Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes lost $11,500 each from the State Aid to Public Libraries program, the same amount trimmed for Louisiana's other 62 parishes.