Louisiana legislators are busy hashing out a plan to fill a mid-year $304 million hole in the state’s budget, and Rep. Gene Reynolds, District 10, said Gov. John Bel Edwards’ plan is a good one.
Edwards wants to use approximately $120 million from the Budget Stabilization Fund, or the rainy day fund, to stop the cuts that will come from being so deep.
“The Democrats are OK with the governor’s plan,” Reynolds said. “The other side doesn’t want to use the rainy day fund. If we did that, we’d have to cut higher education and healthcare. That’s off the table, and we’re going to use some of the rainy day fund.”
He explained that Edwards is only using one-third of the stabilization fund, and at the end of this fiscal year, $25 million will go back into it.
“That’s mandated by law,” Reynolds said.
Meetings have been taking place all day in Baton Rouge, and Reynolds said so far, four or five ideas have come to the forefront. He wouldn’t go into any detail about those ideas, saying they haven’t been made public, and it’s just too early to say anything.
The special session to close the gap began Monday and could run until Feb. 22. Reynolds hopes it doesn’t take that long.
“Appropriations will meet (Wednesday) and some kind of plan will come to the floor,” he said. “The cuts are not as bad if we use the rainy day fund. The governor’s idea is you can’t cut services we need, and that’s the big thing right now: How much of the rainy day fund are we going to use, and how deep are the cuts going to be. That’s what we’re looking at now.”