On April 10 Gov. Edwards made remarks to open the 2023 Regular Session. As prepared for delivery, he noted that in this final year of his second term, the work is far from over. “When I took office in 2016, the state had a $1 billion dollar budget deficit to close out that fiscal year and a $2 billion deficit for the following year,” said the Gov. “It took numerous special sessions
and a lot of bipartisanship, but we were able to navigate a balanced approach with no gimmicks and no one-time money spent on recurring expenditures. […]
“Ever since my administration was fully responsible for the budget, FY 17, we’ve run surpluses. Because of those surpluses, the state’s rainy day fund will be the healthiest it has ever been.
Added to the revenue stabilization fund created in my first year as governor, we will start next fiscal year with more than $2 billion available for future shortfalls and emergencies. […]
“We’ve gone from a state that was disinvesting in higher education more than anywhere else in the country to a state making historic investments in higher education,” he said. “We are fully funding TOPS and have increased GO Grant dollars. We are dedicating money this year to address deferred maintenance and important safety enhancements on our campuses. Every student should have the opportunity to receive a high quality degree or credential right here in Louisiana and they deserve to feel safe when they are on campus. Through increased formula funding and new initiatives targeting critical workforce shortages and opportunities, we are creating a world class workforce. […]
‘As you know, my first act as governor was to expand Medicaid to the working poor. […] Now, more than 500,000 working Louisianans have access to healthcare who otherwise wouldn’t. In 2015, 22.7% of working age adults in Louisiana did not have health insurance. As a result of
Medicaid Expansion, in 2022, the uninsured rate among adults fell to 9.4%, below the national average of 10.2%.”
In an April 18 press release, Governor Edwards reviewed the bills in his 2023 legislative package.
“This package of bipartisan legislation aims for a Louisiana that lives our pro-life values,” said Governor John Bel Edwards. “To truly be pro-life in my estimation, we must make it easier for parents to feed, educate and house their children. We need to raise the minimum wage, close our gender pay gap, and offer our people paid family and medical leave. We must also find empathy for victims of rape and incest who become pregnant. And I am calling on the legislature to abolish the death penalty, which promotes a culture of death and has proven to be expensive and ineffective at deterring crime.”
The governor’s priority bills are in addition to his state budget request, unveiled earlier this year, which calls for a $3,000 teacher pay raise, the largest-ever state general fund investment in early childhood education, a permanent increase of $100 per month (a 20% increase) in
supplemental pay, and historic funding for higher education, according to the announcement.