Governor Edwards outlined another bleak picture of Louisiana’s finances, telling legislators on Friday that he and his team have to deal with more shortfalls even before they are finished 2016 problems. “I’m asking the Legislature to approve the use of $119.5 out of the Rainy Day Fund, toward the shortfall,” Governor Edwards told the joint meeting on the budget.
“Any plan that does not make use of the Rainy Day Fund would simply be catastrophic and unacceptable to the vast majority of the people of Louisiana,” he said.
Even with the use of the funds, he said there will be “painful cuts to the Department of Health,” and other agencies. He noted his staff was “working diligently” to lessen cuts to higher education. We’re using a “scalpel not a sledgehammer” to solve budget problems. In an Executive Order issued December 15th, and published in the January 20, 2017 issue of the Louisiana Register, Governor Edwards outlined reductions based on a November 2016 projected deficit of $312,665,008 in the State General Fund for the Fiscal Year 2016-2017. The Order noted that to deal with and manage the deficit, departments and agencies are to reduce expenditures from the General Fund. Cuts outlined in the Executive Order included the following: Division of Administration – $ 1,500,000 Office of State Police – $ 5,106,503 Capital Area Human Services District – $ 700,000 Metropolitan Human Services District – $ 787,063 Medical Vendor Payments – $237,963,003 Office of Public Health – $ 1,108,005 Office of Behavioral Health – $ 1,559,019 Office of Revenue – $ 2,996,640 Louisiana State University System – $ 5,577,489 Southern University System – $ 699,715 University of Louisiana System – $ 3,411,230 LA Community and Technical Colleges System – $ 1,853,079