BATON ROUGE - Most Lafayette-area state representatives voted for the $27 billion budget approved by the House Thursday but few liked it.
Lawmakers complained throughout the day-long debate about having to cut education, health care and other services but only one amendment offered to shift money was approved. State Rep. Rickey Nowlin, R-Natchitoches, sneaked through an amendment with a 48-43 vote allocating $768,097 to the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts to restore cuts.
Even though amendments in the House Appropriations Committee restored some cuts in the Jindal administration's original budget, deep cuts still exist to accommodate a $1.4 billion drop in state revenue - not including a loss of $4 billion in federal funds. Some of the hole is filled by $1 billion in federal stimulus money.
The bill now heads for the Senate and lawmakers said they expect that, as usual, the Senate shifts the House priorities and finds more money.