OUR VIEW: Budget passage just a short-term fix for state
The good news is that the Louisiana Senate approved a $25 billion state budget proposal this week that would keep the state afloat for another year.
The budget will now head to the House where it will go to another vote. If passed, it will be the financial framework that will guide our state for the next 12 months.
The vote was passed by a 37-1 vote in the Senate.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that the lone voter in opposition spoke out regarding her opinion.
Her words say it all – this may be a short-term fix. But money will remain a problem in Louisiana for a long, long time.
“It duct-tapes the holes in our ship just enough to make it seaworthy,” Sen. Karen Carter Peterson said following the debate.
She argues that the budget relies on accounting gimmicks and other tactics that will not secure the state’s long-term sustainability and future.
The first problem is education.
Louisiana’s educational system continues to be bludgeoned with cuts – moves that leave teachers fearing for their jobs and schools wondering if they have a long-term future.
Colleges are starving more and more each year – continuously being drowned by cuts that are slashing their budgets by countless percentage points.
Locally, schools are being forced to close their doors – a product of simply not having enough money to continue into the future.
Another segment attacked are our state’s public hospitals, which continue to be slashed.
Chabert Medical Center has been plagued by the cuts throughout the duration of the past few years. They have done an admirable job to fight through the adversity and push forward.
But for how many more years can they and other hospitals survive in the constant chess game?
The answer may be for not much longer.
A more permanent fix is needed in the future.
As with any political battle, there was no true perfect solution and everyone involved knew going in that sacrifices were going to be needed to make it work.
And it appears our local lawmakers have done just that, so for now, we give them a brief tip of the cap for getting a solution to keep things moving.
But that’s merely step one of the plan – we need more permanent answers as we head into the future.
One may only bleed so much before they run out of blood.
Lawmakers have to make an effort in the next 12 months to bring new life into the segments that have been ravished.
It’s the only way we can get where we need to go as a state moving forward.