La. governor signs budget, directs state agency heads to be ready for possible mid-year cuts

Governor vetoes language that canceled merit raises for classified state employees

La. governor signs budget, directs state agency heads to be ready for possible mid-year cuts
Gov. John Bel Edwards (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Governor John Bel Edwards has signed the state’s budget for the fiscal year 2020-2021. He says the move preserves critical funding for healthcare and workforce and training services needed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Edwards says he has also ordered cabinet agencies to prepared for possible mid-year budget cuts by setting aside at least 10% of their budgets. He made the same recommendation for the judicial and legislative branches as well. An executive order will also be issued freezing the hiring of state employees.

“Right now, our budget is in a far better shape than we could have hoped just three months ago, with funding for critical services in place as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and see case counts as well as hospitalizations rising. I have directed state agencies to prepare for possible mid-year cuts and, we will continue working with the Legislature to make any adjustments that may be necessary this fall,” Gov. Edwards said. “While there are cuts in the budget, federal CARES Act funding allowed us to avoid making them even more catastrophic. In addition, we were able to invest CARES Act funding into programs for local governments, aid to businesses, and direct payments to essential front-line workers.”

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Gov. Edwards has also vetoed a provision that delayed pay raises for classified state employees and other provisions that sequestered money appropriated to the executive branch, but not funds appropriated to the legislative and judicial branches. The governor also vetoed more than $9 million in new spending, as well as another provision contrary to guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that would have negatively impacted the Louisiana Department of Health, requiring the expenditure of more than $10 million of the state’s general fund, plus another $32 million in federal funding.

Click here to read the Governor’s veto letter.

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