The group of legislators that routinely opposes Governor Bobby Jindal's use of one-time money in his proposed budgets met over the weekend, and may soon have an alternate way to fund some of higher education's budget.
Last year, the fiscal hawks proposed over $160 million of cuts to lower priority areas of the budget. Representative Kirk Talbot, a leader of the group, says those weren’t considered until the mid-year shortfall. They’ll try again this year.
“I don’t want to cut from higher ed unless we have to – I don’t want to cut it all. But we have to see what this budget does, where all the bodies are buried, so to speak," Rep. Talbot said. The group is still analyzing the budget, and it doesn't have any specific changes yet.
Another leader of the group, State Representative Brett Geymann has said he will introduce legislation to change the way budgeting is prioritized. “If you do believe that higher education and health care are the highest priority things in the state, then we shouldn’t be funding them on contingencies," Rep. Geymann said. "We should fund them on real dollars that are going to be available regardless.”
The Jindal administration announced last week that it wants 19% of the higher ed’s funds come from “one-time” money.
Under the Governor’s plan, the budget would use $424 million of one-time funds. Legislative meetings to debate the budget continue March 12th.