DALLAS — The Louisiana House Appropriations Committee late Tuesday passed a $25 billion budget for fiscal 2013, but had to balance the spending with $340 million of one-time money and cuts to services.
Revisions were required to the executive budget that had been proposed in February by Gov. Bobby Jindal when the Revenue Estimating Conference in late April lowered its revenue outlook for fiscal 2013 by more than $300 million.
The HB 1 budget measure cuts higher education allocations by $50 million and health services by $57 million, and directs commissioner of administration Paul Rainwater to cut state spending by another $43 million through unspecified reductions.
The bill also eliminates funding for the agency that investigates state government fraud and abuse.
The committee also adopted a separate measure sponsored by chairman Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro, that moves an estimated $340 million of one-time revenues for recurrent expenses.
HB 822 calls for moving the unspent balances from a variety of state funds, proceeds from the sale of state property, and savings realized through debt refinancing.
The wide variety of fund sweeps ranges from $20 million from the self-insurance fund to $61 from the reptile and amphibian research fund.
Without the one-time funding, Fannin said, cuts to social services and education would go deeper in fiscal 2013.
“Without this, you’re going to get deep into the services of this state,” Fannin said at the rare evening session. “I don’t know that you truly understand what the ramifications of that will be.”
The Legislative Fiscal Office will provide an analysis of the total amount of one-time revenue in the budget before the House votes on sending the bill to the Senate.
Rainwater said the administration limited the use of one-time revenues to education and public health expenses, and worked with the state agencies to avoid problems with the fund transfers.
Rep. Tony Ligi, R-Kenner, agreed to send the budget to the House for consideration, but he told Rainwater, Jindal’s chief fiscal aide, that he wouldn’t vote for final passage until spending is reduced further.
“Sometimes we pass bills out of committee knowing they need a lot of work,” Ligi said. “I think this bill does need a lot of work done to it.”
“We want to send a clear message to the administration that between now and the floor that some changes are made to this bill to make it more palatable to those who would like to see smaller government and less spending,” Ligi said.
Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington, said the Jindal administration has promised every year to reduce the reliance on one-time funding, but has failed to do so. The situation must be resolved before the full House considers the bill May 10.
The state’s fiscal year begins July 1.