BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - One Louisiana GOP lawmaker released a plan to fix the state's $304 million budget hole without the need for a special session.
The proposal, from Alexandria representative, Lance Harris, would cut $147 million from the Department of Health. DOTD, state prisons, and k-12 education would all also take hits. Higher education would be spared.
The Department of Health says the plan would put at risk the state's partnerships with hospitals that treat the uninsured, as well as programs benefiting the disabled.
The Louisiana Federation of Teachers says the plan would "devastate" public education.
"It's shameful to consider cuts that threaten the future of our schools and our children," said president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, Larry Carter. "This is the first time in our history that serious proposals have been made to actually reduce funding for public education."
According to the governor's office, the cuts proposed would impact 7,250 kids at $3,961 per student. Governor John Bel Edwards is calling for a special session so cuts can be spread around to avoid such an impact.
"We cannot simply cut our way to prosperity in this state," Carter said. "At a time when we demand more accountability and rigorous standards from our schools, this plan would pull the rug out from under the progress we are making."
The federation will urge lawmakers to identify new revenue sources, alongside budget cuts during a proposed special legislative session and the regular fiscal session that begins in April.