Over the weekend, the Louisiana Legislature approved HB 1, the state’s budget, passing it to Governor Edwards to sign into law. While it did not change much from the version approved by the Senate only a week ago, it is very different from the original bill developed by the Governor.
Here are the main points you need to know about where we stand at the moment:
- As of today, higher education appears to have received a $55 million cut, with LSU’s portion not yet being determined.
- LSU Health Sciences Centers’ operational shortfall of $39 million (approximately $30 million for HSC Shreveport and approximately $9 million at HSC New Orleans) remains unfunded, and another roughly $12 million in reductions to other public colleges and universities has not been restored.
- TOPS was cut approximately $152 million – roughly half of the program’s funding.
Please keep in mind that Governor Edwards has issued the call for a second extraordinary legislative session, which began only 30 minutes after the regular session adjourned at 6 p.m. last night. The purpose of this second extraordinary session (actual name) is to identify opportunities to generate additional revenue, potentially lessening cuts to higher education, so a great deal of change could happen in the next few weeks. But right now, legislators disagree on the amount and severity of cuts facing our state.
Unfortunately, we are in for another bumpy few weeks, as headlines will undoubtedly oscillate between various scenarios and potential solutions. Your vocal support and willingness to educate your legislators was and will continue to be critical for the duration of the second special session, which ends at midnight on June 23.
Thank you all for everything you do to make LSU the very special place it is today. Your voice matters in the fight to keep our university great.
F. King Alexander