Feb. 23: Special Session Update

Since 2008, Louisiana's higher education system has been under constant pressure to do more with less. Colleges and universities have answered that call with a reduction of programs, faculty, staff and spending. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranks Louisiana 16th in the nation in higher education efficiency. Any more cuts to higher education will go well beyond efficiency and have a serious impact on students--cancelled classes, delayed graduation, additional program elimination, delayed building maintenance and more faculty and staff layoffs.

Louisiana already ranks #1 nationally in cuts to higher education and is "racing to the bottom" to provide the least amount of funding to colleges and universities of any state in the nation.  Not only does Louisiana rank #1 in cuts to higher education but it also ranks near dead last or 48th nationwide in the level of funding Louisiana provides for our colleges, universities and research centers statewide. To make up the difference, our students and their families are paying 99 percent more in tuition and fees than they did in 2008, placing hardships on our families and closing the door for many of the state's most promising students. 

The Governor has proposed a mixture of cuts and bills that will raise revenues to stabilize the budget and stop continued cuts to Higher Education:   

Existing Revenue and Cuts

Total

Rainy Day Fund

$128M

BP Settlement Fund Non-Coastal Dollars

$200M

Executive Order Cuts by the Governor

$21M

JLCB Cuts Recommended by the Governor

$38M

Legislative Cuts Recommended by the Governor

$29.5M

Supplemental Budget Cuts

$70M

Cuts to Ad Valorem Tax Credits (HB 46, HB 47 by Rep. James)

$50M

 

Increased Revenues

Author

FY16

"Clean Penny" Sales Tax

House Bill 62 by Rep. Katrina Jackson

$221.8M

Business Utilities Tax

House  64 by Rep. Montoucet

   $60M

Increased Tobacco Tax

HB 14 by Rep.  Leger

     $16M

Increased tax on Alcoholic Beverages

HB 27 by Rep. Cox

   $6.7M

Income Tax Brackets

HB 34 by Rep. Leger

$44.2M

Change in Ad Valorem Tax Credits

HBs 46 & 47 by Rep. James

$50M

This week, the Governor's most critical piece of legislation that will protect higher education from additional cuts will be voted on at the capital. 

  • House Bill 62 by Rep. Katrina Jackson, referred to as the "clean penny" sales tax is expected to be heard this week on the House Floor.


There are only 16 days left in the special session to stop the cuts to higher education. In the budget proposal under consideration now, higher education can expect a $70 million dollar cut which will be the 13
th mid-year cut to higher education since 2008.  Another cut to higher education only ensures Louisiana's downward spiral in funding for higher education

Your role to stop Louisiana's race to defund higher education is critical--please keep sharing information with your legislators and neighbors about the significant role higher education plays in Louisiana's future success. We need that message to be heard in every parish and every community across our state if it is to truly resonate.

This Wednesday, February 24th, is "Higher Education Day at the Capitol" with a rally that will be held at noon on the Capitol steps hosted by the student body presidents of each college and university statewide. 

Together, we can help our state choose to make funding for our colleges and universities in support of Louisiana's students and their families a priority.    

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Contact: Cami Geisman
225.219.0270  |  Cami.Geisman@la.gov
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