State Commissioner urges lawmakers to not pass budget, enter special session immediately

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - On Sunday, State Commissioner Jay Dardenne urged members of the Senate Finance Committee to deny the budget approved by the house earlier this week.

On Thursday, the House approved that budget with a 55-47 vote, but Dardenne warns the cuts would greatly impact TOPS recipients and hospital employees.

"The longer we wait, the longer we delay being able to give people some sense of certainty," Dardenne said. "It's the uncertainty right now that's gonna wreak havoc on the state."

Earlier this week, Governor John Bel Edwards called the budget passed by the house a "complete failure" and "unworthy of the people of Louisiana."

He also indicated he would veto the budget proposal. The plan was backed by Republicans, but most Democrats voted against it. Dardenne says TOPS recipients would lose around twenty percent of their aid, and hospitals would be forced to lay off employees.

"There's been commentary by leadership in the house that they could live with these cuts," Dardenne said. "Unfortunately many of our citizens literally cannot live with these cuts."

On Thursday, Republicans defended their budget.

"Is it a perfect budget? No. We'll never get a perfect budget," said Representative Cameron Henry of Metairie. "Someone will always need more. But what we've started to do is look at what agencies actually spend and base our budgets off of that, not what they'd like to have."

Dardenne also urged lawmakers to end the regular session early and start a special session to address the budget concerns.

The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to meet again on Monday to discuss the budget proposal.

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