Lawmakers furious with budget vote in final minutes of session
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Lawmakers from both parties were furious this evening after they said they were given no time to review any of the amendments put on all of the budget bills to spend your money, which were all saved until the last second with no room for debate.
“We had approximately 5 minutes to look at those amendments to try and understand them before we voted. That’s not the way we do things here, this is not Washington D.C. I consider this a travesty I believe it’s embarrassing for the state of Louisiana,” said Rep. Beryl Amedee (R).
When it came to the budget, House and Senate members had different priorities. Whether it be teacher pay raises instead of paying down teacher debt, going above the spending limit or putting more money into savings. But after everything was voted on, it was unclear who came out on top.
“We didn’t have nearly enough time to study those bills to see what was in them,” said Rep. Raymond Garofalo (R).
We do know teachers were given a pay raise of $2,000 and first responders got a supplemental pay increase. But the raises for teachers are for this year alone. House members wanted to make it to where teachers would see a raise each year.
“Obviously it’s far less than ideal but unfortunately sometimes the process works that way. Probably most folks would have liked to have had more time to be able to dig deeper to go into more specific detail and have a chance to air some of these issues out,” added Rep. Cedric Glover (D).
The blame for how things went down in the final minutes was placed on House Speaker Clay Schexnayder (R).
“If they didn’t know what was in those bills shame on them for not showing up to committee to be able to look at those,” the Speaker explained.
It was also learned, in order to put the money in some places that needed it, cuts were made. Like $100 million from the Department of Health, something no one saw coming. Especially since the state has $2 billion saved in the bank on top of the money set aside for the budget.
“To do it with the best fiscal situation in the history of the state...more money in the bank than we’ve ever had and a forecast as strong as that which we have...it’s unconscionable,” Governor John Bel Edwards reacted.
The governor has some time to look over all the bills sent to him before he either signs them into law or vetoes them.
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