|Senator Jack Donahue Newsletter - Well, It's Over!|
|Friday, July 09 2010 - 12:55 pm|
Well, It Is Over!
Before the session started I said it would be all about the budget and it was. In the end, the legislature approved a budget which was about $60 million less than the Governor recommended. Additionally, we covered a downturn in revenue in the current year which amounted to over $600 million dollars. Was it perfect? Of course not, but it was a responsible effort in light of the financial problems that we face as a state.
Education had some major changes along the way. The Red Tape Reduction Act was the Governor’s big push for the session, and it made it through the process but with some changes. It will allow local schools to compete with charter schools by helping to eliminate some rules and regulations which slow the education process down.
Also, the Louisiana Grad Act passed and will allow universities to raise tuition up to 10% per year if the universities meet certain academic requirements. The increases can only occur until the tuition and fees meet the average of the other Tier Universities. Louisiana is the only state to require a 2/3 vote of the legislature to raise tuition.
Healthcare is an area we will all have to monitor. The Federal changes in Medicaid eligibility requirements and the constant cut in the Medicaid provider rates are jeopardizing our community hospitals’ ability to provide excellent service. The situation I described above was not helped in this session and our medical industry, including the doctors, is really hurting.
Many of you have asked about how my streamlining process fared in the session, and I am in the process of completing that evaluation and will let you know shortly.
Thank you all for your constant help and encouragement – Maura and I really appreciate it.