State lawmakers, state police, LSU students react to budget proposals

State lawmakers, state police, LSU students react to budget proposals

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Moments before the governor's budget was presented, state Democrats reacted to what they knew was coming.

Among the hefty cuts- hundreds of millions in proposed reductions to higher education and healthcare.

"There is a real sense of urgency now. Failure to address this problem is absolutely not an option. A band-aid approach simply won't work anymore," said Rep. John Bel Edwards, (D) Amite.

Representative Edwards, who is running for governor after Jindal leaves office, calls Jindal's $526 million savings plan a good place to start, but not at the price of making college more expensive. Some of his colleagues agree.

"I'm pleased with them trying to soften the blows to higher education, but it's not enough," said Rep. Jerome Richard, (I) Thibodaux.

When asked what he would think about paying more in tuition and fees, Miles Dominique, and LSU junior, replied, "Not too happy about that at all."

Aaron Gremilion, and LSU Law student answered, "I'm going to pay it. I'm going to get an education regardless but it does suck if you have to pay more."

On healthcare, disappointed with $235 million in proposed cuts, state Democrats say they'll respond with a push to expand medicaid and get federal dollars.

Also from the Capitol, State Police say $157 million in proposed cuts to public safety will hurt the department, even with troopers geting a $24 million pay raise.

"I'm mindful of the fact that we're part of state government. So we have to continually look at ways to reduce costs that does not affect public safety," said Col. Mike Edmonson, LA State Police.

Col Edmonson says reducing costs for State Police means a loss of 37 jobs in the fiscal year ahead. Over 700 public safety jobs have been lost since Gov. Jindal took office in 2008.

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