LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Governor John Bel Edwards has had the title for less than three weeks, but he's already facing criticism on proposed taxes increases and some of his administration's salaries.
Edwards has had a packed schedule since his January 11 inauguration. With every decision or proposal he's made thus far, his practices have been questioned. While in Lake Charles, he addressed some of the scrutiny.
"It is going to take a shared sacrifice," said Governor Edwards about dealing with the budget.
He's calling his proposed tax increases a "shared sacrifice" but while campaigning, Edwards said he could fix the budget mess without raising taxes.
"The fact of the matter is we are still going to do those things I said about the campaign, but it's just not going to be enough," said Edwards, "That's because the problem is worse by a factor of two than in October, November of last year. Nobody was talking about a deficit of two million dollars."
Edwards also released potential spending cuts across the state, most notably to education and health and hospitals.
"I want to work with the legislature to make sure we don't enact those cuts, but in the event new revenue isn't realized, our state agencies have to prepare for those cuts," said Edwards.
Health and Hospitals released it's "doomsday plan" if the $131 million cut must be made. It includes major decreases in Medicaid and could force some facilities to close.
"I am not proposing those cuts, I'm letting everyone know what the cuts will be if we don't find revenue," said Governor Edwards, "These are not scare tactics, but we're going to have responsible, honest, and transparent budgeting moving forward."
Edwards once criticized his predecessor for salaries he called exorbitant, but now Edwards is facing the same scrutiny. Three state department leader positions are earning higher salaries under the new administration.
"I will tell you in the aggregate, we're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars less than Governor Jindal did," said Edwards, "I'm delivering on my promise and we are spend hundreds of thousand dollars less in the governors office to stand that office up and run it as compared to the cost under Bobby Jindal."