Louisiana House Republicans are poised to reject Gov. John Bel Edwards’ request to tap the state’s Rainy Day Fund to mitigate the $313 million midyear budget shortfall, The USA Today Network of Louisiana reports. That would leave the full measure of the deficit to be filled by budget cuts.
“We’ve used and used the Rainy Day Fund and not put any back,” said House GOP delegation Chairman Lance Harris, R-Alexandria. “The Rainy Day fund is for catastrophic events. These are uncomfortable cuts, but not catastrophic.”
Members of the House GOP delegation joined a conference call following Friday’s Revenue Estimating Conference meeting in which that panel reached an agreement to recognize a $313 million midyear deficit.
The representatives interviewed by USA Today Network of Louisiana who were on the call all agreed there was a consensus by House GOP members to deny the governor’s request to withdraw $119 million from the Rainy Day fund to soften the cuts.
Tapping the Rainy Day Fund requires a two-thirds vote of the House and the Senate. Since Republicans dominate the House, getting two-thirds approval there seems unlikely. Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, has said he supports using the fund.
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne said he was shocked when he learned from USA Today Network about the GOP’s possible denial of using the fund.
“It’s been raining all year,” Dardenne said. “If we’re not in a rainy day now I don’t know when we’ll ever be. I’ve been meeting with departments for the last three weeks on a plan (for cuts), but the plan was on the premise of using $119 million from the Rainy Day Fund.