House-approved budget short $155M in needs

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Despite the work they've done over the past few weeks to fully fund areas like higher education, the new word for the legislature is that the budget has at least $155 million worth of holes in it.

Monday afternoon, the governor's office gave the Senate Finance Committee an overview of the budget the House passed last week.

The governor's office says the budget plan is short $155 million in needs like public health care services for poor people and those who don't have insurance. State parks, museums and the agriculture industry are also facing deep cuts.

The governor's office gave the committee ideas where they might look to raise more money.

"We have not moved the tobacco settlement piece of legislation, but it is still available. That is an instrument from the House side," said Kristy Nichols, Commissioner of the Division of Administration.

Commissioner Nichols was referring to a bill from Rep. Bryan Adams which, she says, would raise $50 million. Critics say the bill is just another short term fix.

Nichols also told lawmakers to look at the lottery where there is $27 million available from unclaimed winnings.

The House-approved budget relies on eleven new tax measures raising $615 million.

Lawmakers must settle on a budget by the final day of session, June 11th.

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