The Louisiana House voted 51-48 Friday afternoon in favor of an effort by Republican legislators to purge one-time money from next year’s $25 billion state spending plan.
The amendment was key to debate on House Bill 1, the state operating budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
Disagreement over the use of money that likely will only materialize once to pay ongoing expenses stalled debate on HB1 Thursday.
Floor discussion resumed Friday afternoon when state Rep. Cameron Henry, R-New Orleans and state Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Lake Charles, offered an amendment to give the Jindal administration a slate of options for cutting $268 million in one-time money from next year’s spending plan.
The options included sending state employees home without pay for two days, reducing overtime and cutting vacant positions along with other reductions across state government.
State Rep. Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro and the budget bill’s sponsor, accused legislators of abdicating their authority to craft a budget that funds hospitals, colleges and other state services.
“Did your people send you down here to not do a budget when you’ve been down here three months? I don’t think they did,” he said.
Debate on the amendment raged on for three hours with strong opposing opinions voiced.
Henry said he approached the Jindal administration for input on how to purge the one-time money from the budget bill. He said he received little direction.
“This isn’t about cutting. This is about what you can afford,” said state Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington.