Special session wraps up, $34 billion budget passes

WWL Newsroom
June 30, 2020 - 9:15 pm
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The Louisiana Legislature approves a $34 billion operating budget for the fiscal year starting today, one that looks fairly similar to the budget Governor John Bel Edwards first sent them.

Despite the influx of hundreds of millions of dollars in CARES Act, money Edwards warns there will still have to be some cuts due to COVID-related revenue shortfalls.

“Principally to higher education and healthcare, which as you know are the go to portions of the budget whenever you need to find state general fund in relatively large amounts,” says Edwards.

The legislature also approved a series of tax breaks for COVID-impacted businesses. Edwards says he has his concerns with passing tax breaks at a time when revenue is already suffering.

“We did an awful lot of work over the first four years to restore sanity to the fiscal situation in the state of Louisiana and you do not want to go back,” says Edwards.

Proponents of the tax breaks say they are necessary to save businesses on the brink right now financially.

Edwards also bemoaned the Llegislature’s decision to pause a scheduled pay raise for state employees that would have cost about $60 million.

“It’s regrettable that the legislature did not see fit provide them with a modest raise this year that the law says they are entitled to especially since the funding is available,” says Edwards.

Legislators expressed concern about the “optics” of passing a state pay raise while so many private-sector employees were out of work.


 

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