Edwards unveils $70M in state budget cuts, to close deficit
BATON ROUGE - To rebalance this year's budget, Gov. John Bel Edwards is levying all of a $70 million spending reduction on the state health department and sparing Louisiana's public colleges.
The Democratic governor announced Thursday the final pieces of budget rebalancing needed to get the state out of the red before June 30.
Edwards says the Department of Health and Hospitals has $40 million in savings from lower-than-expected Medicaid spending and changes made in department management since he took office.
The remaining $30 million in cuts will be divided among a program for "medically fragile" children, the managers of the privatized LSU hospitals and managed care companies that provide Medicaid services. Contracts in the department also will be cut, and Louisiana will tap into additional federal financing available for the Medicaid program.
Edwards also announced his administration has made changes in this year's Capital Outlay Bill which deals with funding for state construction projects. He plans to limit that list to projects to repair state roads and fix government buildings, saying he doesn't want to promise to do projects if there's no money to back it up as in years past. Edwards also says the construction of any new buildings on college campuses will be postponed.