BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's debt load has declined for the first time in a decade, a notable benchmark in a state trying to get a handle on its finances after years of budget gaps and...
Decision upheld to scrap Louisiana voting machine contract
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana secretary of state's office will have to redo its work to replace the state's decade-old voting machines, after Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration refused Wednesday to reinstate a voided multimillion-dollar contract award.
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne reviewed the decision to scrap the deal with Dominion Voting Systems, and Dardenne said he found that cancelling the contract award was "in the best interest of the state."
Computer upgrade aims to improve Medicaid eligibility checks
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration told lawmakers Friday a computer upgrade will address concerns the Medicaid program has spent millions on people not eligible for the coverage, and the system improvements won praise from the state's top auditor.
New management for north Louisiana safety-net hospitals OK’d
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — State-owned hospitals that care for the poor and uninsured in north Louisiana will shift to new, more expensive management Oct. 1, after Louisiana State University's governing board Friday approved the deal.
A new company jointly controlled by LSU and Ochsner Health System will take charge of the Shreveport and Monroe hospitals and clinics, medical teaching facilities currently being operated as the University Health System.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Contracts remain unfinished for a deal to transfer management of the state-owned safety-net hospitals in north Louisiana, a deal announced more than seven months ago.
Southeast Louisiana-based Ochsner Health System has agreed to take over day-to-day oversight of the Shreveport and Monroe facilities from BRF, which has managed the hospitals for five years.
The agreement was announced in December, aimed at ending years of disputes over operations of the facilities.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana completed its tax and budget deal Tuesday, when nearly $500 million in taxes passed by lawmakers for the upcoming budget was added into state revenue forecasts, paving the way for spending the money.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Even as Louisiana struggles with a budget gap that threatens to shutter health services, Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration is asking lawmakers to give the state's prison guards a pay raise that would cost $7 million next year.
Louisiana lawmakers question $60 million in spending from previously frozen funds
As Louisiana legislators grapple with an expected deficit that could fall somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion when the next fiscal year begins, they’re scrutinizing not only proposals for the next budget but also looking at what’s currently being spent in the 2017-18 budget.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration is allowing Louisiana agencies to spend $60 million that had been withheld amid concerns that income projections may come up short and force the state to make midyear cuts.
Rather than have a deficit this year, Louisiana collected more money from taxes than expected, so Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told lawmakers Wednesday the proposed cuts to safety-net hospitals, public colleges and other areas won't be necessary.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The threat of hundreds of millions of dollars in budget cuts that could hit in July is causing safety-net hospital operators to prep for clinic closures and college-bound students to consider leaving Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards' chief financial adviser said Tuesday.
Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser on Tuesday unveiled the new slogan and logo his office will use to market Louisiana to tourists.
The new “Feed Your Soul” campaign replaces “Pick Your Passion,” which Nungesser’s predecessor Jay Dardenne, who is now the commissioner of administration, introduced in 2011.
(BATON ROUGE, LA) - The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness activated its Crisis Action Team (CAT) due to the wintry weather conditions currently impacting the state. Team members will monitor the conditions, provide situational reports to state and local leaders and help answer any calls for support from our local partners. Much of the state is already dealing with sleet and snow on the roadways. The National Weather Service indicates many areas will also face extended periods of time below the freezing mark.
Safety-net hospital deals done, except in north Louisiana
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration has finished renegotiating the terms of deals with all the private managers of the state's safety-net hospitals and services, except for its facility operator in north Louisiana.
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne said Friday all of the other hospital agreements had been signed. The deals are part of yearly bargaining with the companies, aimed at keeping state costs in check.
Louisiana negotiating hospital management with new company
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Breach-of-contract allegations against the private operator of the state-owned, safety-net hospitals in north Louisiana won't be resolved by this week's deadline, as negotiations continue with another health system about taking over some management duties.
Saints game in London spawns business recruitment trip
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Top officials in Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration have traveled to London for a business-recruitment trip timed to coincide with this weekend's New Orleans Saints game in the city.
The governor's top budget adviser, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, and Edwards' top business official, Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson, are on the trip that began earlier this week.
Louisiana has $100M surplus, but won’t ease next budget gap
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana has a rare bit of good budget news: Gov. John Bel Edwards' chief financial officer said Wednesday that the state ended the last budget year with a surplus topping $100 million.
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne outlined the better-than-expected finish to the 2016-17 budget year, saying Louisiana collected more money than projected from sales taxes and personal income taxes in the year that wrapped up June 30.
Gov. Edwards claims breach of contract by hospital manager
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The private operator of the state-owned, safety-net hospitals in north Louisiana is violating its contract, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration, which has started a legal process that could lead to the ouster of the hospital manager.
The Edwards administration and LSU, which previously managed the hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe, sent "notice of breach" letters Monday night to BRF, starting a 45-day period for the company to correct the problems outlined.
Louisiana deficit plans: Cut list devised for possible gap
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's safety-net hospitals, public colleges and local sheriffs housing state prisoners could face cuts, while the opening of Louisiana's new youth prison facility could be delayed, if the state's income projections come up short this year.
Louisiana budget gap pegged at $1.5B, figure called skewed
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The price tag for Louisiana's looming mid-2018 budget gap was projected Friday to reach $1.5 billion, but lawmakers and Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration agreed the estimate was skewed too high by inflation assumptions.
The official calculation presented to the joint House and Senate budget committee was the first update on the so-called "fiscal cliff" since the legislative sessions ended in June.
Louisiana governor shifts strategy for tackling budget gap
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — With his tax plans repeatedly blocked by House lawmakers, Gov. John Bel Edwards is broadening outreach efforts, trying to build grassroots pressure for stabilizing Louisiana's budget and closing the latest looming, $1 billion-plus shortfall.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana may need to again take out a short-term loan for as much as a half-billion dollars to keep cash flowing to agencies and bills on track for payment.
The State Bond Commission, which oversees state borrowing, agreed without objection Thursday to move forward with the process for borrowing up to $500 million this budget year. But officials stressed they hope they can avoid the bank loan.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration hasn't yet settled on its plan for withholding $60 million from state agencies as a deficit-avoidance measure.
The governor's chief budget adviser, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, says the administration will announce next month which agencies will be told to lessen their spending plans. He says he's collected information from the chief financial officers of each department to help make those decisions.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana is renegotiating the terms of deals with the private managers of its safety-net hospitals and services, in what is becoming an annual bargaining session aimed at keeping state costs in check.
Gov. John Bel Edwards' lead negotiator, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, said drafts of the latest contract proposals are out this week for hospital managers to review as talks continue. One deal has been completed, governing the New Orleans hospital.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration on Tuesday trashed House Republicans' version of next year's budget, saying it would cause widespread damage to health care, child welfare programs and other government services.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana is repaying early the $370 million it borrowed this budget year to keep state agencies paying their bills on time.
The early repayment will save the state $330,000 in interest costs. That's a minor amount in a multibillion-dollar budget, but officials said Thursday it will send strong signals to Wall Street and credit agencies that Louisiana takes care of its debts even amid chronic financial troubles.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Republican lawmakers on the House budget-writing committee resisted suggestions Tuesday that Louisiana's budget needs more money next year and said they'll instead be searching for deeper cuts.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana state senators blocked plans by Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration to shutter a Medicaid program that provides mental health services to more than 47,000 children, saying Wednesday that the budget-cutting measure went too far.
Edwards’ budget would leave TOPS short, trim most agencies
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Fresh off a special session to close a deficit, Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday released his budget recommendations for next year, a plan that would leave the TOPS college program unable to cover full tuition costs and would trim most agencies' spending.
The $29.7 billion operating budget proposal for the financial year that begins July 1 would leave gaps the Democratic governor hopes to fill, with as yet unidentified revenue sources.
$313M deficit from last year closed; Colleges take $12M cut
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Lawmakers and Gov. John Bel Edwards reached a compromise Thursday to rebalance Louisiana's state operating budget and close a $313 million deficit, lessening — but not eliminating — a spending cut for public colleges.
Colleges will take a $12 million hit, losing about 1 percent of their state financing, under the plan approved without objection by the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget.
Decision on size of Louisiana budget gap pushed to January
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana won't put a dollar figure on how deep its budget shortfall is until January.
Though economists and lawmakers know the state's tax collections are coming in lower than expected, Louisiana's income-forecasting panel refused Tuesday to officially shrink its forecast. A downgrade would have required the governor and lawmakers to make deep cuts and budget rebalancing decisions within a month.
New budget hearings open, with $600M gap lingering this year
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Lawmakers are getting an early jump start on budget negotiations for the coming year, but first they'll have to find $600 million or more in cuts to close the growing hole in the current year's $28 billion budget.
Insurance program CEO ousted by Jindal rehired by Edwards
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The office that oversees Louisiana's health insurance program for state workers and retirees is getting a new leader — and he's a familiar face for the agency.
Tommy Teague will again work as chief executive officer of the Office of Group Benefits, beginning Dec. 12. Teague was CEO from 2006 to 2011.
Then-Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration fired Teague as the Republican governor sought to privatize parts of the operation, a move that Teague questioned.
The Latest: Louisiana looks into another debt refinancing
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Latest on Louisiana's continuing budget gaps (all times local):
Louisiana officials are considering another state debt refinancing, hoping it may save the state some money as it struggles through repeated budget gaps.
Edwards’ $315M deficit-closing plan to be unveiled Friday
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards' chief budget adviser will unveil the administration's proposal for closing a $315 million deficit to lawmakers on Friday, a gap that threatens to force new cuts across state agencies and public colleges.
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne will outline the recommendations to the joint House and Senate budget committee, seeking to close a budget hole left from the fiscal year that ended June 30.
Edwards administration warning $313M budget gap could grow
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards' chief budget architect said Friday that he fears Louisiana won't meet its income forecast this year, heaping new financial problems on a state already facing a $313 million deficit from last year.
"We've got big problems on the horizon," Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told lawmakers. He said economists have been tracking tax collections this year, and "It's not looking real good."
With $313M deficit, agencies and colleges bracing for cuts
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana closed the books on the last budget year with a $313 million deficit, and state agencies and colleges are being asked to prepare for budget cuts of up to 10 percent of their state financing to close the gap.
Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration notified departments this week of the possible cuts.
The Latest: Louisiana has $313M deficit from last year
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Latest on Louisiana's budget deficit (all times local):
Louisiana closed the books on the last budget year with a $313 million deficit.
That's the figure Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says will be presented to lawmakers Friday.
Dardenne says Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration hasn't yet decided how to deal with the shortfall, which is from the budget year that ended June 30.
Governor’s top budget adviser Dardenne suffers heart attack
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards' top budget architect spent the weekend in the hospital after suffering a heart attack.
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne was discharged Monday, according to spokesman Cody Wells.
In a statement, Dardenne said he woke up Saturday morning "feeling pressure in my chest," and went to the hospital. He said an exam "revealed some blockages" for which he was treated.
Edwards aims to oust north Louisiana hospital operator
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards has moved to oust the operator of LSU's hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe, after it refused renegotiated contract terms sought by the governor.
The Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana said Thursday that the terms offered by the Edwards administration are unfair.
Edwards and 1 LSU hospital manager haven’t reached deal
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration has reached renegotiated deals with all but one of the operators of the charity hospitals and patient services previously managed by LSU, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne said Friday.
Lawmakers won’t intervene in Landry, Edwards budget dispute
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Lawmakers are refusing to intervene in the latest budget dispute between Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration and Attorney General Jeff Landry.
Members of the joint House and Senate budget committee heard the disagreement Friday and told the two sides to go work it out on their own.
AG Landry says governor’s office stalling his budget request
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Attorney General Jeff Landry says two of his budget requests to lawmakers are being bottled up by Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration, including money Landry says is needed to defend recently passed abortion restrictions.
Thursday deadline set by Edwards on reworked hospital deals
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards has given the private operators of the LSU hospitals and clinics until next week to decide if they agree to the renegotiated terms of their financing deals with the state.
Negotiating over, Edwards makes offers on LSU hospital deals
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration will make its offer Thursday to the operator of LSU's hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe for a renegotiated contract with the state, as the governor pushes to rewrite all the LSU hospital privatization deals.
Edwards' lead negotiator on the contracts, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, said Thursday's presentation to the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana is the last offer to be made.