Protestors interrupt state budget discussions

Protestors interrupt state budget discussions

BATON ROUGE, LA (KPLC) - Time is running out for the Louisiana Legislature to find a fix for the state budget, and tensions are running high.

A pair of protestors were dragged out of the building during yesterday's Louisiana House Appropriations Committee meeting.

The two individuals were a part of the Poor People's Campaign, a group vying for what they call a moral budget.

Just prior to the disturbance, representatives from the group presented the committee with a petition signed by over twelve thousand people calling for more funding for state services.

When several members of the Poor People's Campaign felt they weren't being heard, they decided to sit directly in front of the podium and shout their demands.

Capitol security and officers from the Department of Public Safety carried two members out by their hands and feet after they refused to leave.

Peter Robins-Brown, a member of the campaign, said their actions were necessary in order for them to be heard.

"They're people," said Robins-Brown. "Real people, real hopes, real dreams, real loves, real fears. Just like all of us. I guess I'm tired of hearing legislators talk about everybody like a number… I think that it's important to do dramatic things to get some attention, to get people's notice of that. It's not as easy to just hear our message go in one ear and have it go out the other."

Both members that were thrown out of the meeting were taken to Louisiana State Police where they were issued citations for disturbing the peace.

Campaign members say they are lobbying for a moral budget that would help lower-income families.

The main concerns of the activist group are the Legislature's plans to increase sales tax, funding cuts to nursing homes, and restrictions on food stamps.

The Louisiana House Appropriations Committee approved two budget plans yesterday, but the problem?

That leaves less than a week for the Senate to review the plans and then come to an agreement with the House.

One plan would see around six hundred 43 million dollars in new taxes to reduce the cuts to state services.

And while the other plan only calls for around 400 million dollars in new taxes… it would also cut nearly 200 million dollars in state services.

The services that would suffer the greatest losses would be the Department of Health, the TOPS scholarship program, prisoner housing, and higher education.

It is anticipated that the House will consider both of these proposed budget plans tomorrow.

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