House votes to trim one-time cash from budget; sends $25 billion budget to Senate


Posted on May 11, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Updated Friday, May 11 at 10:38 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Crafting a balanced budget in bad times is never easy. The debate now underway in the Louisiana Legislature pits the governor against some members of his own Republican party.

Late Friday, however, the House voted to pass the $25 billion budget, sending the spending plan to the Senate for approval.

A block of conservative house members managed to push through an amendment that instructs the Jindal Administration to cut $268 million in spending.

They complain that's the amount of one-time cash the governor is using to piece together next year's spending plan.

State Representative Ray Garafalo, R-Chalmette is among the lawmakers objecting to the Jindal budget.

"The majority of people in the state and in particular, my district want more austere government, they want less spending, they want small government and that's what I'm going to work for," said Garafalo.

Friday, Governor Bobby Jindal was at the Port of New Orleans to unveil two new containerized cargo crains when the house voted to cut his budget.

Jindal says he is disappointed in the amendment. "It is not specific about where they want to make the reductions," said Jindal. "People are free to make improvements, amendments, changes to our budget. They should have the courage to say specifically what they want to change. This amendment doesn't do that."

Jindal says what the amendment does is deal deeper cuts to critical state services including higher education and healthcare.

To me I don't think that makes sense," said Jindal. "I don't think it makes sense to devastate our higher educational institutions, our health care institutions, when we don't have to do that. When we've got the dollars to protect those services."

In the past, Governor Jindal has said the use of one-time money for ongoing expenses is "fiscally irresponsible." He says this year is different.

"I think it makes sense as you're transitioning to a smaller government to use the dollars you've got," said Jindal.

"I think that we're all working toward reducing government spending, to reduce the size of government and to make government more streamline," said Garafolo.

It's unclear if the budget bill can get a two-thirds majority vote in the house in its present form.

VOTING YES FOR THE AMENDMENT THAT STRIPPED THE ONE-TIME CASH (51):  Adams, Barras, Berthelot, S.Bishop, Broadwater, Burford, T.Burns, Carmody, Carter, Champagne, Connick, Danahay, Dove, Foil, Garofalo, Geymann, Greene, Guinn, Harris, Harrison, Havard, Henry, Hensgens, Hodges, Hollis, Howard, Huval, Lambert, N.Landry, Leopold, Ligi, Lopinto, Lorusso, Mack, Miller, Jay Morris, Jim Morris, Pearson, Ponti, Pope, Pugh, Pylant, Richard, Robideaux, Schexnayder, Schroder, Seabaugh, Simon, Talbot, Thompson and Whitney.

VOTING NO (48): Speaker Kleckley, Anders, Armes, Arnold, Badon, Barrow, Billiot, W.Bishop, Brossett, Brown, H.Burns, Burrell, Chaney, Cox, Dixon, Edwards, Fannin, Franklin, Gaines, Gisclair, Guillory, Hazel, Hill, Hoffmann, Honore, Hunter, K.Jackson, James, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, T.Landry, LeBas, Leger, Montoucet, Moreno, Norton, Ortego, Pierre, Price, Reynolds, Ritchie, Shadoin, St. Germain, Thibaut, Thierry, P.Williams and Willmott.

ABSENT OR NOT VOTING (6): Abramson, Cromer, G.Jackson, Richardson, Smith and A.Williams.