The budget cannot be fixed without new revenue
Cross-posted from Louisiana Budget Project
House budget targets hospitals and college students
Facing a $648 million "fiscal cliff" caused by expiring tax revenue, a divided Louisiana House approved an operating budget Thursday that includes deep cuts to health care services for low-income families and TOPS college scholarships. Needing 53 votes to pass the bill, House leadership mustered 55 votes to send the flawed proposal to the Senate. The Advocate's Elizabeth Crisp reports:
The House budget plan would nearly defund the state's safety-net hospitals, a move that the Louisiana Department of Health predicts would shutter hospitals in New Orleans, Shreveport, Monroe, Lafayette and Bogalusa. It also only funds 80 percent of the money needed for the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, which would lead to cuts to scholarships for college students, and it would drastically reduce funding for medical education programs in the state, potentially leaving Louisiana with no functioning medical schools.
The budget bill now moves to the Senate, where its fate is unclear. But one thing is certain: senators cannot fix the budget by shuffling money around between programs.