Gov. Edwards touts budget plan in trip to Cenla

RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - Governor John Bel Edwards made a stop in Alexandria and Pineville Tuesday, touring health clinics and speaking to local stakeholders. A trip coming at a time where hospitals and health care faces financial uncertainty from the state.

"I'm going to keep fighting," said Gov. Edwards during a conversation with local hospital officials.

Political tensions have been heating up at the Capitol after the House passed their version of the budget. The Edwards’ administration recently sent out tens of thousands of notices, including to some nursing home Medicaid recipients, warning they could face eviction due to possible budget cuts.

Some Republicans pushing back said it's just another "scare tactic" with Republican Rep. Nancy Landry even calling on the governor to quote, "apologize to seniors who received fake, politically motivated eviction notice."

"Well that is patently ridiculous,” said Edwards. “Those notices were sent out because of inaction, persistent inaction by those very same members of the house of representatives."

After $1.3 billion of a temporary sales tax sunsets, the state is facing a more than $600 million budget shortfall where the gap has to be filled or cuts have to be made by June 30.

"One of the main things we are going to try and do is maintain enough of the expiring revenue so that we can give the people of Louisiana a tax cut but also fund all of our partner hospitals next year at current year levels," said Edwards.

However, after facing cuts for several years, local hospitals say it has to stop.

“We have sustained multiple cuts over the past two years and we know that we could not sustain another hefty cut this year and then do the good work that we are doing for the people of Central Louisiana," said Nancy Hellyer, Pres. And CEO of St. Frances Cabrini Health System.

For the Governor, it's coming down to the wire.

"Accept compromise where it is possible, but we have to fix the problem because June 30th is coming pretty quickly now," said Edwards.

Edwards called a special session to fix the budget to start on May 22.

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