Jim talks with State Treasurer John N. Kennedy about the state budget, non-governmental organizations (NGO's) that won't account for state money given to them and a proposed $2-million center for former Governor Mike Foster's paper, in Franklin.
In the final hours of the legislative session, lawmakers have passed a $25.4 billion budget compromise to finance the state for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
The Senate approved the deal with a 38-1 vote. The House voted 104-0 Thursday and the deal has Gov. Bobby Jindal’s backing.
The budget includes a $69 million increase for local school districts and teachers sought by House Democrats. To address concerns of House Republicans, lawmakers cut down the use of one-time financing for recurring expenses.
A coalition of state representatives is pushing a slew of bills and amendments to reform Louisiana’s budget process. The lawmakers are fed up with rushed legislation, cutting higher education and healthcare year after year, and procedural tomfoolery.
Representatives Kirk Talbot and Cameron Henry have made waves about the constitutionality of the budget before. Talbot led a group of 19 GOP lawmakers that appealed to State Attorney General Buddy Caldwell with the same concerns last fall. Caldwell suggested the lawmakers go directly to the courts.
The first of nine constitutional amendments on the ballot in Louisiana would prevent the legislature from raiding the state’s Medicaid Trust Fund to balance the budget. But LSU Political Scientist Robert Hogan says it could also hamstring the budgeting process if Louisiana’s demographics shift.