Feb 22, 2013 7:47 PM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck
Governor Jindal's budget was presented this morning at a Joint Legislative Committee meeting in Baton Rouge. It's a 24.7 billion dollar proposal--roughly a billion dollars less than last year.
"We are proud of this budget, even though it has certainly been a challenge," Kristy Nichols, Commissioner of Administration said.
The big question is how to balance the budget without cutting key services.
"One of the concerns I have is the Office of Hospitals and Health. I see there are going to be a reduction on 210 positions. I know our health units in Acadiana are expressing there are not enough health units, or enough services for these type of services. I got some concern on that immediately," Sen. Fred Mills, (R-Parks), said.
There are no changes to higher education funding except the Governor wants to raise tuition.
"So far we haven't seen anything that frightens us about higher education. we do expect there will be more cuts, but nothing that has really shaken us up," Sen. Elbert Guillory, (D-Opelousas), said.
The Governor's plan includes saving 781 million dollars by privatizing most of the university-run hospitals, like Lafayette's University Medical Center.
"These almost 300 employees, we want to make sure they are taken care of," Sen. Guillory said.
In about two weeks, Legislators will have more answers on how the budget will affect their areas. The House Appropriations committee will meet to review the budget in early March.