Senators get primer on cuts Print
Wednesday, May 23 2012 - 8:21 am

State senators should be aware of the impact of cuts in the House-passed budget, says Finance Committee Chairman Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville.

Donahue distributed to senators Tuesday an inch-thick publication pointing out the effects of the House decision cutting the $268 million in one-time money that was in the original version of the bill and the $150 million cut in other House actions.

"If these cuts go through, they're going to close three prisons," Donahue said. "If these cuts go through, look at your colleges" and see how cuts impact them.

He said senators should study the book so "you can't say you didn't know they were closing prisons and cutting colleges."

As Finance Committee chairman, Donahue called his committee together several weeks before the House approved the budget bill so members could become familiar with the original House Bill 1.

Discretionary

The panel received comments from every department and agency head concerning how they would handle reductions and then again after cuts were made

The $25.5 billion budget has $2.4 billion that's discretionary funds that can be cut, mostly in health care and higher education.

The impacts range from reduction of days of operation at 42 Office of Motor Vehicles offices to closure of state clinics and hospitals.

Donahue said the Legislature should address a $207 million hole in the current year's budget.

"Constitutionally, I think we are responsible for correcting that," he said.