Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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State planning financial cuts to higher education, health care

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BATON ROUGE – The state is currently $300,000 million short and in order to fill the gap, the governor's office is proposing big cuts and, once again, higher education and health care may not be spared.

Students at LSU are worried.

"It will be more difficult to get through now," Aisha Ortiz, LSU student, said.

The governor's team is proposing a budget cut of $18 million for now. Higher education leaders say they can afford it and it will not cost students a dime, however there is still concern.

"There's going to have to be some reduction in higher ed there's no question that it's going to happen," Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne said.

State lawmakers did not sign off on the governor's plan on Friday and instead pushed it off to next month. They are hoping to avoid the higher education cuts, however there may not be another way.

"At the end of the day higher education is going to receive some cuts. It is inevitable just like health care and other areas of the government because we don't have enough revenue to balance the budget," Dardenne said.

State economists say the money problems are because tax collections are down. The culprit is a steady loss of jobs state-wide particularly in oil and mining.

Dardenne says there is a solution.

"I think changing our tax structure is at the root of trying to create a better system for Louisiana, the legislature and the people will have a chance to discuss that next year," Dardenne said.

However, until then, areas like higher education will continue to take a hit.

State leaders are set to meet again next month to discuss the budget.


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