In June, Gov. Edwards signed the budget bill, announcing that the measure invests in many of the Governor’s key priorities, including increased funding for education, promoting continued economic recovery from the pandemic, and creating substantial new investments in infrastructure.
“In terms of higher education,” said the Governor, “the budget supports a $19.8 million faculty pay raise, and additional $14.5 million in the funding formula for both four and two year institutions, fully funds TOPS as well as a historic $11.1 million increase in GO Grant funding. All of this is critical to supporting our educational systems as we come out of a challenging year and creating first class learning environments in Louisiana,” the Governor said.
According to the press release, Louisiana’s budget uses federal coronavirus recovery dollars in the state’s ongoing response and long-term resurgence following the pandemic, without creating structural budget issues in the future. Because of these increased revenues, teachers will receive an $800 pay raise and school support workers will receive a $400 pay raise. These raises are not enough, said the Governor, but they are another critical step forward in reaching our goal of getting teacher pay back to the Southern regional average.
“The budget I signed today is a far cry from past years, thanks to increased revenues and additional federal funding to support the state’s recovery from the pandemic,” Gov. Edwards said. “It makes significant investments in education at every level, provides support for families on Medicaid, those living with disabilities, foster families and adoptive parents working with the Department of Children and Family Services, and promotes access to important services for the elderly. It invests in infrastructure, economic development, public safety and our continued efforts to reform Louisiana’s criminal justice system.
“Thanks to bipartisan cooperation and a commitment to responsible budgeting, Louisiana enters the next fiscal year more resilient and ready to resume robust economic growth.”
In related news, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) pointed out its list of bills passed by the legislature that LABI leaders said can change the Louisiana business climate for the better.
“This has been an extremely collaborative session where legislators worked together to develop innovative solutions for the good of the people of Louisiana,” said Stephen Waguespack, resident of LABI.
The association pointed out positive legislation for tax reform, transportation infrastructure funding, school choice appeals process, school funding transparency, paycheck protection, and a ban on deceptive attorney advertising.
“The bills passed this session— with great bi-partisan support— will untangle Louisiana’s confusing tax code and improve the business climate for those in our state as well as those looking to invest here. While tax reform and infrastructure funding were front-and-center in the public’s eye this session, we can’t overlook some of these long-sought solutions to problems plaguing our business community. These are major milestones on the path toward economic opportunity in Louisiana,” said Waguespack.