Update on state budget situation
BATON ROUGE - All eyes are on the state budget shortfall as the Jindal Administration discusses making difficult cuts that will likely include major slashing to higher education.
While the governor won't announce the budget until later this month, they want to address concerns about the TOPS Program.
"Since 2008, we've increased funding in TOPS by about 142%," Dept. of Admin. Comm. told News Two's Rebecca Buchanan. "In this next year, we're expecting to increase our investment by about $34 million dollars, which is an increase of about 14%."
TOPS has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last two decades to full time students from Louisiana seeking a four-year degree. The governor's office assures they won't be changing any of the requirements or slashing from the program. But there will still be cuts to higher education.
Each agency has already been asked to cut spending 15-20%. For higher-ed, that results in a maximum cut of $400 million, which State Treasurer John Kennedy believes is too much.
"We're going to cut higher education another $400 million after we've already cut higher education $700 million," he explains. "That's after they raised taxes in the form of tuition. All that tells me education isn't a priority."
The budget plan was supposed to be released Friday, but will instead come out Friday, February 20th. The budget for 2016 will be released a week later.