Posted: Feb 22, 2013 10:57 AM by Russell Jones
Updated: Feb 22, 2013 2:02 PM
BATON ROUGE - Lawmakers questioned Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration today about decisions in their proposed budget for next year.
Jindal's $24.7 billion budget calls for the use of $424 million in one-time cash and college tuition increases to prevent deeper cuts to higher education.
Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols defended the one-time money use today, saying without it higher education funding would have to be cut by 19 percent.
Jindal's budget also assumes savings from several areas which are still in flux, including measures he's proposing to lawmakers this session and a deal to privatize LSU's charity hospitals which isn't done yet.
Sen. Francis Thompson (D-Delhi) criticized the decision to strip funding from the hospitals while the deal remained unfinished, saying public hospitals would "disappear" from the state after this budget.
Sen. Dan Claitor (R-Baton Rouge) also criticized higher education funding, saying it wasn't accurate to claim the state was moving in the right direction when LSU was in danger of losing its Tier 1 status due to crowded classrooms and staff leaving.
News 2's Mike Steele will have more on the budget tonight starting at 4 p.m.
You can find a full copy of the budget and the Jindal administration's presentation to lawmakers by clicking here.