La. House Committee cuts half-billion from budget bill

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wwltv.com

Posted on April 29, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 29 at 7:57 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Louisiana's budget bill is now on its way to the full house, minus close to $500 million in spending.

On Monday, the House Appropriations Committee passed the bill after approving an amendment stripping out the one-time money used to balance Gov. Bobby Jindal's $24 billion spending plan for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

The funds were slated to come from proposed land sales, legal settlements and fund sweeps such as $100 million taken from the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

In backing out the one time money, the committee also cut spending to state programs by more than 20 percent across the board.

"Under house rules, any one time money in the bill requires a two-thirds vote just to take up the debate," said Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans. "So the bill is now in a posture to be fully debated where I expect that we will try to restore a number of the cuts that have been made, today."

Rep. Pat Connick, R-Marrero voted against the amendment.

"It usually ends up (cutting) healthcare and Higher Ed," Connick said. "We're trying to change that. That was my reasoning to pull back and try to delay it from getting out of this committee so we can keep the discussions going."

House members are expected to consider some other remedies to restore the cuts such as adopting certain elements of President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

"I  hope that the Governor would enter into an agreement to expand Medicaid which would free up some money, the first three years would be paid by the federal government," said Rep. Jared Brossett, D-New Orleans.

There is also a push to eliminate certain tax breaks.

In passing the budget bill out of committee, lawmakers did restore the $100 million swept from the Morial Convention Center

The budget is now expected to be taken up by the full house as the Special Order of the Day May 9th.

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