Lawmakers vote in support of additional $117M in cuts

Lawmakers vote in support of additional $117M in cuts

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Gov. John Bel Edwards is calling for $30 million in additional cuts to this year's state budget, but that's far too low according to some lawmakers.

Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, says he had bipartisan support when crafting a bill to cut state services $87 million more than what the governor is proposing.

"I was extremely surprised by the number of members that submitted cuts.  It was across the board," said Rep. Henry, who is the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

His bill advanced out of committee, but six Democrats and two Republicans did vote against it, citing deeper cuts to public schools and human services.

"You went really overboard. I can tell you, I will not support this bill," said Rep. Pat Smith, D-Baton Rouge

"For the past seven and a half years, we've been cutting," said Rep. James Armes, D-Leesville.

"We don't enjoy cutting human services, but that's not the position we're in as a state right now," said Rep. Henry.

Those opposed were joined by public schools leaders and parents of disabled children who rely on state services.

"Over 50 percent of the cuts in this particular bill are coming from dollars dedicated to educating kids," said Scott Richard, Executive Director of the LA School Boards Association.

Henry said his cuts would spare services to disabled kids. The bill heads to the House floor for a vote.

Gov. Edwards and lawmakers have already cut $60 million to help close this year's deficit.

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