Acadiana business leaders, lawmakers chastise legislature over handling budget crisis

Posted at 7:01 PM, Jun 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-29 20:01:47-04

Less than a week after state lawmakers passed a compromise sales tax to fund most of the state budget, Acadiana business and education leaders chastised lawmakers over their handling of the state budget crisis.

“Thank you for recognizing that higher education is what turns people from being government assisted to assisting the government and the revenue it needs to meet our state’s goal,” said SLCC Chancellor Natalie Harder.

Officials with UHC, UL Lafayette and the Acadiana Business Community say they’re relieved to have some financial stability, but they expressed frustration with how lawmakers have handled the budget in recent years.

"It is also embarrassing as that our state has put us over the last three years in this situation because we did not have reliable funding at that institution,” said Lafayette General Hospital President David Callecod."I’ve said many times, many many times, that this is absolutely no way to run a state. This is no way to run a university educational system."

All Acadiana lawmakers were invited to the event, but only one Republican and two Democrats showed up.

The three lawmakers supported the tax, and now they’re offering plans for a permanent fix to the budget.

"What we gotta do is go back into some of these places where we gave stuff away, where a lot of us who there voted for it, and let’s reevaluate those. Let’s change the formula because we’ve seen over the years that if we keep the equation the same way, we know what the outcome will be,” said Lafayette Senator Gerald Boudreaux.

One lawmaker even took outright jabs at colleagues who voted against the tax.

"Some people are here not because they don’t want to be or they have another obligation. But, some of them are because they can’t come back and look you in the face and justify why they did what they did,” said Lafayette Representative Terry Landry.

Despite his frustration with the budget, Lafayette General Hospital President David Callecod says he’s thankful lawmakers passed funding for the budget.

“The .45 sales tax gives us seven years to really figure out what a permanent funding source really needs to be,” said Callecod.