Louisiana lawmakers ended a special session Wednesday night to attempt to solve the budget crisis that has consumed their state.
The state was facing a $900 million budget shortfall. According to the Baton Rouge Advocate, tax hikes and budget cuts "bridged all but $30 million" of the approximate $900 million shortfall. The maneuvers mean Louisiana state schools will be able to stay open through the end of the year. And, for your purposes as a Dr. Saturday reader, that the eligibility of football players at LSU and other state schools won't be compromised as of now with grades of "incomplete" if universities had to close.
Per a Monday report in the Advocate, schools expected earlier in the week that they would be able to stay open through the end of the school year even with significant cuts to their budgets. The remaining $30 million gap that wasn't closed by lawmakers Wednesday night could be made up in budget cuts to universities.
Edwards said his staff would not know until Thursday exactly where the $30 million of cuts would fall. Those cuts could disrupt universities and colleges to some extent as well as cause some public hospitals to turn away patients temporarily.
While the budget difference is made up, it's only temporary. The work lawmakers did this week is a short-term fix for the current fiscal year. Next year's budget hasn't been balanced yet and it faces a possible $2 million deficit.
The budget situation was so bad that Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) had previously said schools could be forced to close in April because of a lack of funds. If schools closed, students would be issued grades of "incomplete," affecting athletes' eligibility. Edwards made sure to mention in special remarks earlier this year that LSU football could go away if LSU was forced to close.
LSU president F. King Alexander had echoed Bel Edwards' sentiments. He said this week that there will be "all kinds" of layoffs as LSU stays open with the cuts. Per the Advocate, state schools have seen a more than 50 percent cutback in state funding over the past eight years.
But for now, state schools are going to stay open, even if the crisis is only temporarily resolved. And you can start preparing for Leonard Fournette's run at the 2016 Heisman Trophy.
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