Baton Rouge- Republican lawmakers in the House Appropriations Committee successfully amended and passed HB 1, the state's spending plan, on a 17-5 party-line vote. House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry (R- Metairie) provided a package of amendments that transformed the bill to a "standstill" budget, freezing state spending for next year at the current year's level, with the exception of some constitutionally mandated increases.
This budget accounts for spending 97.5% of estimated revenues, and is intended to avoid another mid-year deficit. In committee this morning, Representative Blake Miguez (R- Erath) pointed out that budgeting in this conservative manner actually helps to protect healthcare and higher education funding, helping to avoid a special session to address a mid-year deficit, where these two entities would be put on the chopping block.
Representative Franklin Foil (R- Baton Rouge) provided an amendment to HB 1 that fully funded TOPS. Governor Edwards' initial budget failed to fully fund TOPS to the tune of 82 million dollars. This amendment passed 19-5, with the nays coming exclusively from the Democratic members of the committee.
"The standstill budget that was passed out of committee today is the first step towards solving Louisiana's spending problem. I commend the Republican legislators for their efforts to freeze state spending and to ensure Louisiana keeps its promise to our high school students."- LAGOP Chairman Roger Villere