SWLA lawmakers prepare for budget session - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

SWLA lawmakers prepare for budget session

Fresh off a special redistricting session, Louisiana lawmakers will now move on to tackling a $1.6 billion budget shortfall as the regular legislative session begins on Monday.

"It's the largest deficit we've had in many decades," said State Rep. Mike Danahay (D-Sulphur). "It's going to be a very difficult process. It's going to be a very painful process."

Unlike the federal government, the state is required to balance its budget.

Political pundits have nicknamed this year's session "The Cliff Year," since federal funding the state had been using to balance its budget, including President Obama's stimulus, is starting to run dry.

"A lot of the stimulus money that was there and available to us is no longer there. That's part of it. [Also] a lot of the recovery dollars from the storms are now diminished," said Danahay.

Lawmakers say they will have no choice than to make cuts to nearly every state agency, including to education and health care.

"The two largest areas of the budget are health care and education," said State Rep. Brett Geymann. "When we look at a budget shortfall, there is no getting around the fact that those two areas are going to face some reduction."

For the first time in state history, Republicans control both the legislature and governor's mansion, but lawmakers say tackling the shortfall won't be a partisan issue.

"The battle line will be between the conservative part of the legislature and the more moderate part in the sense that many of us on the conservative side think we have to slow down the spending, get it to a level that we can sustain," said Geymann.

Geymann said he would not be surprised if lawmakers wait until the final hours of session to reach a budget agreement. He says there are many controversial issues lawmakers will have to address before they balance the budget.

One of the most talked about issues is Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to privatize or sell three state prisons, including one in Allen Parish, as a way to save money and help balance the budget.

Lawmakers have until June 23rd at 6 p.m. to reach a budget agreement.

Lawmakers will also consider more than 840 pieces of legislation, from requiring welfare recipients to be drug tested to increasing taxes on tobacco and to building a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the state capitol.

Copyright 2011 KPLC. All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Lake Charles Police Department make arrests in 8 homicides in 2017

    Lake Charles Police Department make arrests in 8 homicides in 2017

    Wednesday, July 26 2017 6:19 AM EDT2017-07-26 10:19:44 GMT
    Lake Charles Police are on the scene of a homicide on North Simmons Street in Lake Charles. (Source: KPLC)Lake Charles Police are on the scene of a homicide on North Simmons Street in Lake Charles. (Source: KPLC)

    Nationally, according to the FBI, only 64% of homicide cases are solved but the Lake Charles Police Department has had only two cold cases since 2001.

    More >>

    Nationally, according to the FBI, only 64% of homicide cases are solved but the Lake Charles Police Department has had only two cold cases since 2001.

    More >>
  • District Attorney: Community needs to come together to address teen violence

    District Attorney: Community needs to come together to address teen violence

    Wednesday, July 26 2017 12:33 AM EDT2017-07-26 04:33:26 GMT
    (Source: Raycom)(Source: Raycom)

    There is a shocking trend in the Lake area—deadly violence with teens among those arrested. In fact we've seen two cases in just over a week.First on July 17TH, gunfire on North Simmons Street in Lake Charles left  31 year old Gary Obrien dead.       Four people face charges in connection with the case, including 16 year old Justin Ned. He's booked on charges of principle to first degree murder and armed robbery. And this past Saturday, 24-ye...

    More >>

    There is a shocking trend in the Lake area—deadly violence with teens among those arrested. In fact we've seen two cases in just over a week.First on July 17TH, gunfire on North Simmons Street in Lake Charles left  31 year old Gary Obrien dead.       Four people face charges in connection with the case, including 16 year old Justin Ned. He's booked on charges of principle to first degree murder and armed robbery. And this past Saturday, 24-ye...

    More >>
  • Oakdale Police Department dealing with constant phone problems

    Oakdale Police Department dealing with constant phone problems

    Tuesday, July 25 2017 11:25 PM EDT2017-07-26 03:25:49 GMT
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
    For the Oakdale Police Department one of their constant battles isn't necessarily with criminals, but instead with their phones. Their phone lines were down for most of the weekend, and just got back up yesterday, but this isn't the first time they've dealt with this.  The phones are ringing at the Oakdale Police Department now, but this past weekend that wasn’t the case.  “Friday evening our phones went down,” said police chief, Joseph Lockett. ...More >>
    For the Oakdale Police Department one of their constant battles isn't necessarily with criminals, but instead with their phones. Their phone lines were down for most of the weekend, and just got back up yesterday, but this isn't the first time they've dealt with this.  The phones are ringing at the Oakdale Police Department now, but this past weekend that wasn’t the case.  “Friday evening our phones went down,” said police chief, Joseph Lockett. ...More >>
Powered by Frankly