Lawmakers take first look at budget, cut $500 million
BATON ROUGE, LA — Lawmakers may not know the size of cuts yet but they have said unless they can find more revenue those cuts are coming.
"We don't know yet. Let me tell you, we're early in this process the bill's got to go to the house floor, go to the senate and then come back. So I do believe there's some cuts that have to be made. Can we afford to do a half billion dollars of them? No," John Schroder, a Republican Representative on the House Appropriations Committee explained.
But cutting half a billion dollars is just what the committee chose to do on Monday.
"All the one time money and contingency funds have been removed from the budget so that the bill can be debated on the floor," explained Democratic Representative Walt Leger.
Lawmakers said some of that one-time money will be most likely be restored once the bill hits the house floor.
"Cuts of about 20 percent, but once we get that bill on the floor, I believe we'll be able to restore somewhere between $200 million and $250 million or so," Leger added.
But many are already worried those cuts will start coming to those who've already been cut several times before.
"Spread the risk amongst, of the one time money with others. We understand that there's a tight budget situation we just don't want it to have to all be in our particular budget," remarked Jim Purcell, Commissioner of Higher Education.
Several legislators agreed with Purcell, but they said there's no way to tell just yet who will be hit the hardest.
"It’s a long process and it's certainly time to start calling your legislators and let your voice be heard. But I certainly wouldn't panic at this point. I would ask your legislators to look at responsible ways to generate revenue so we fix this problem not only this year but in to the future," Leger said.
The bill will be on the house floor for debate on May 9, 2013.