The state construction budget zipped through the Louisiana House on Wednesday after millions of dollars were added for maintenance projects on public college and university campuses across the state.
The House voted 100-0 in favor of advancing House Bill 2, the capital outlay budget, to the state Senate. House Bill 3, the spending engine for the construction budget, also cleared the House chamber.
Nearly two dozen pages of amendments made big changes to HB2 by redirecting dollars that Gov. Bobby Jindal wanted to use in the state’s operating budget.
Now a parking lot would be resurfaced in Crowley, the F.G. Clark Activity Center in Baton Rouge would get new tanks and pumps, and extra state dollars would be spent on governmental complexes in Lafayette and St. John the Baptist parishes.
The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Joel Robideaux, thanked his staff for working long hours to compile the amendments.
Robideaux, R-Lafayette, said the added dollars materialized after the House rewrote the governor’s state spending plan.
The governor proposed a state budget that would rely on property sales, legal settlements and other one-time, or nonrecurring, dollars to help fund higher education in the fiscal year that starts July 1.
In what are known as fund sweeps, Jindal also proposed taking leftover dollars from funds set up for specific purposes. For example, the governor wanted to take money from an economic development incentive fund and put it toward the expense of running state government.
The House rewrote the governor’s budget, purging the one-time dollars and fund sweeps.
Legislators replaced the dollars with spending cuts, tax break modifications, new revenue and a tax amnesty program.
Robideaux said the changes generated $76 million for college maintenance projects and $13 million for various construction projects across the state.
The additions include:
- $200,000 for the parish governmental complex in Lafayette
- $57,000 for the Southern University Laboratory School addition
- $200,000 for the Baton Rouge Fire Department Brookstown Fire Station No. 4