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House Considering Two Budget Bills, But Not The Governor's

Sue Lincoln

The full House will consider two plans for resolving the $304-million budget shortfall Friday, and neither of them is the Governor's proposal. 

One is House Bill 8 by Representatives Rick Edmonds and Tony Bacala. It made amendments to the Governor’s plan, which included using $119 million from the Rainy Day Fund.

“We’re bringing forth a plan today that does not use any of the Rainy Day Fund,” explained Edmonds at Wednesday's meeting of the House Appropriations Committee.

The second budget bill being considered is Representative Cameron Henry’s. It calls for using $74.6 million from the Rainy Day Fund.

Both bills means higher cuts to programs than Governor John Bel Edwards’ plan recommended.

Speaker Pro Tempore Walt Leger, presenting the Governor's planto House Appropriations Thursday, said "this is the exact same bill filed by Representatives Henry and Edmonds and Bacala prior to the amendments that were adopted on those two bills by this committee."

Leger's bill uses the full amount of Rainy Day Funds available: $119 million.

“Any reductions at this point to those entities hit people and ultimately we’re here about the people and not about a spreadsheet. There are so many numbers," Leger said, "that the numbers begin to become what we’re fighting for, when all along what we should be fighting for is the people of the state.”

Representative Pat Smith was one of seven members who voted to move the bill to the House Floor for further debate.

“There are two bills that we have that we will be debating, amending, voting on, whatever comes before the body. It is only fair that the Governor’s bill also get to the floor,” she urged. 

Fifteen members opposed the bill.

So, while two budget bills will be debated Friday, the Governor’s plan will not be one of them.