House Ways and Means committee frustrated over budget discussions

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Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne discussed the budget with the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday. (Credit: Kaylee Poche, LSU Manship School News Service)

Kaylee Poche

Members of the House Ways and Means Committee were notably frustrated when they met Wednesday to begin the special session’s budget discussions, a conversation they have been having in some form for over two years.

However, not all of the 18 members were frustrated for the same reason, and the meeting quickly turned into an airing of grievances, some with Gov. John Bel Edwards and others with their own colleagues.

Several of the 11 Republicans on the committee, which must initiate tax and budget bills, told Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne they were upset that Edwards vetoed the budget passed by the Legislature that dealt with a $648 million shortfall solely through budget cuts.

While that budget would have fully funded health care priorities, it would have decimated state agencies with 24 percent cuts across the board, slashed TOPS scholarships by 30 percent and left Louisiana as the only state without a food stamp program.

Read the story in Gambit Weekly.

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