The chairman of Senate Finance has no desire to approve the budget the House passed last Thursday. Ville Platte Senator Eric LaFleur says he can’t support a spending plan that would kick 46-thousand elderly and disabled people from nursing homes.
LaFleur says, "I will never vote for this budget. I will not allow for a thousand people to be thrown out into the streets. I'd be embarrassed, and I'm not even running again for office."
But Republicans on the panel have a different view. Slidell Senator Sharon Hewitt says the legislature should pass a budget, so they have a better idea on where the budget gaps exist.
Hewitt says, "It will be able to defend and support any additional revenue measures that are necessary to fund the highest priority programs."
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne made the case again to end the regular session early, so a special session can be called to pass tax bills to replace expiring revenues. Dardenne says at least 600-million dollars is needed to keep partner hospitals open, medical schools operating and to fully fund TOPS.
Dardenne says, "The longer we wait, the longer we delay being able to give people some sense of certainty. It's the uncertainty right now that's going to wreak havoc."