BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) – The state legislature has finally passed a $28 billion budget. The state Senate officially passed the budget with a 26 to 9 vote on Friday.
“It’s not perfect it doesn’t do everything we want to do. But under the circumstances it does about the best we can do to adequately find our critical priorities,” Governor John Bel Edwards said.
Lawmakers went into special session this week after they failed to pass a budget during the regular session. Governor Edwards said the process of passing the budget took way longer than it had to.
State Representative Terry Landry said this the same budget lawmakers voted on last Thursday, which led legislators to a special session after they couldn’t agree.
“To understand the rationale for not accepting that budget last Thursday is really bewildering to a lot of us who were ready to pass the budget and go home,” Landry said.
The budget is a standstill budget, meaning no new revenues.
Included in the budget, more than 38 thousand state government workers are getting a two percent pay raise.
The tops college tuition program will be fully funded and state colleges won’t experience any cuts.
“This is the best we’ve done for higher education right at the decade,” Edwards said.
State Senator Fred Mills said programs that will experience budget cuts include mental health initiatives as well as cuts to hospitals and clinics.
“Hospitals will be predominately where they were last year. So for healthcare and education, they’ll be funded to a level which is manageable,” Mills said.
Governor Edwards said although it took longer than expected, he’s proud of the way lawmakers worked together to pass what he calls an honest budget.
The newly passed budget goes into effect July 1 for the start of the new fiscal year.
Governor Edwards is fully expected to sign the budget into law.