On May 15, 2018, The Louisiana Senate passed an altered version of the House budget (HB1) by a 27-10 vote. The newly passed Senate budget would shield nursing home residents from evictions and keep Louisiana's safety net hospitals from closure.
Unfortunately, Governor John Bel Edwards' administration had already sent out letters last week warning 37,000 infirm residents that they could lose their Medicaid coverage and possibly be evicted from nursing homes. Gov. Edwards has insisted that the state was legally compelled to mail these notices to nursing home residents and others, even though his Commissioner of Administration, Jay Dardenne, had earlier stated there was no such law compelling the administration to mail out these notices.
The Senate version of the budget makes cuts that are more evenly spread throughout the budget, with cuts being applied to the treasurer, judiciary, legislature, secretary of state, TOPS and every other state agency by 24.2% to 30%.
There is still budget work to be done in the Senate-House conference committee, but it must be remembered that if Republican legislators had given in to Gov. John Bel Edwards massive tax hike demand back in February, the legislature would have been forced to raise taxes by a billion dollars! Now he has lowered his demand to just over half that amount, which is still excessive albeit closer to the actual “fiscal cliff”.
The Republican Party of Louisiana would like to thank the Republican House delegation for taking the first step by crafting a budget, and to thank the Senate for refining the legislation. We look forward to a final state budget after reconciliation between the two houses- it may not make everyone happy, but it will not spend money that the state doesn’t have, and future generations of Louisianians can be thankful for their efforts.