Gov. John Bel Edwards has vetoed the Legislature's spending plan for the coming year, calling the version of House Bill 1 that passed both the House and Senate "catastrophic."
Edwards, a Democrat, had avoided saying publicly in recent days whether he would veto the budget, which called for deep cuts to state agencies but protected funding for health care.
"It's obvious now, I think to everyone, there simply isn't enough revenue forecasted for next fiscal year to fashion a reasonable budget," Edwards said.
Edwards announced his plans to veto late Friday evening after lawmakers wrapped up the 2018 regular session about two weeks before it was required to end. Lawmakers on Tuesday begin a special session to address a looming $650 million fiscal cliff the state faces when temporary tax measures expire June 30.
The Legislature will now also be tasked with crafting a new budget, rather than back-filling priorities with any new revenue raised in the special session.
The Edwards administration had sent letters to thousands of Medicaid recipients, including many in nursing and group homes, notifying them that their services were at risk because of budget negotiations. The final version of the budget fully-funded those programs.
House Democrats praised Edwards' veto move.
"The House GOP pushed an immoral document out of the Legislature, which had to be vetoed. It tried to solve real problems with pretend solutions. On Tuesday, we will reconvene with a set of real options for our constituents, which includes a net tax decrease that fully funds our priorities. It's time to get real," said House Democratic Caucus Chair Robert Johnson, of Marksville.