More than 3,600 state jobs would be cut, and about two-thirds of those job reductions would be layoffs.
The House agreed to the spending plans in an 87-17 vote after seven hours of debate, going through the 291-page bill department by department. Most attempts to make changes were defeated.
As they spoke against the budget, a handful of lawmakers lodged complaints about Gov. Bobby Jindal's stance against tax increases to help fill budget gaps and the Jindal administration's opposition to most of the amendment proposals.
The budget heads next to the Senate for debate, where the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to begin hearings Monday. The 2009-10 spending plan would shrink from a $30 billion budget in the current fiscal year.
A large slice of the reduction is tied to the loss of one-time federal hurricane recovery dollars. The state also faces an estimated $1.3 billion drop in state general fund revenue, thanks to the recession, plummeting oil and gas prices and a slew of large tax breaks approved recently by lawmakers.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Louisiana House OKs state budget; eliminates merit increases and cuts state jobs
The Louisiana House approved a $27 billion budget proposal Thursday that eliminates state employee merit pay raises and also includes large cuts to public colleges, health-care services and government jobs to cope with a steep drop in state revenue.