2017 Legislative Session Update
LSU faculty and staff,
The Second Extraordinary Session of 2017 just concluded with good news for higher education. The Governor and the Legislature worked diligently to craft a compromise in order to develop a responsible budget for the state. We are very grateful for their efforts to prioritize students and higher education.
In terms of our LSU funding, higher education was restored to July 1, 2016 levels, which means that the mid-year cut LSU received in January was reversed. TOPS funding was restored to 100 percent, which is great news for Louisiana students and their families. The Legislature also granted the LSU Board and other higher education management boards three more years of fee authority, which will be used judiciously and in consultation with our various constituency groups.
As part of the compromise necessary to reach an agreement on the state budget, we will have to temporarily put some of our appropriations aside until the state’s revenue forecasts for FY2018 become clearer.
The Louisiana Department of Health’s budget took some reductions that will affect the LSU Health Sciences Centers and our Healthcare Service Division. Reductions in funding to LSU hospital partners equate to reductions in the ability of the Health Sciences Centers to generate revenue. However, the amount of this reduction is not known yet and LDH Secretary Gee is committed to protecting graduate medical education. Residual hospital privatization costs (commonly referred to as “legacy costs”) were not fully covered for LSUHSC New Orleans, but efforts are underway to address that issue.
Louisiana’s higher education budget remains austere at best by national standards, but this marks the second time in five months that higher education was spared from further possible cuts. This is an indication of our state leaders’ commitment to reinvest in LSU and the state’s higher education systems.
F. King Alexander