Gov. Edwards addresses lawmakers' budget plan to be laid out next week

Gov. Edwards addresses lawmakers' budget plan to be laid out next week

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A major development is expected at the State Capitol next week as the House presents the budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

At his weekly press conference Thursday, Gov. John Bel Edwards gave his two cents on some of the ideas that are being floated by legislators.

On Monday, the House Appropriations Committee is supposed to lay out its plan for the state's $600 million estimated shortfall. Though that plan will have to include cuts because legislators cannot raise revenue during this year's regular session.

One of the sticking points is TOPS, which is still short more than $180 million.

The House has advanced a measure that would cut contracts by $183 million in an attempt to fully fund TOPS, but the governor called that idea pure fiction on Thursday.

The chairman of House Appropriations, Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, has called for moving money around to fix TOPS, meaning deeper cuts elsewhere. The governor was critical of that as well.

"Do they want to leave other safety net hospitals out of the budget? Do they want to visit a larger cut to higher education? A larger cut to K through 12 education? Do they want to further impair the corrections department's ability to house inmates?" Edwards said.

As it stands, House Appropriations will meet Monday and likely vote on the budget plan. After that, it will head to the House floor, where the plan is to debate it on Thursday and Friday of next week.

The governor is still calling for a second special session for some time in June.

Critics have said it should be later in the year, once more taxes start coming in, but the governor disagrees.

Watch the governor's full press conference from Thursday below:

Copyright 2016 WAFB. All rights reserved.