"We've heard everything from 18,000 people laid off, to we can balance it without laying off people, to 20,000 [laid off]," says Sen. Don Cravins. "I don't think anybody truly has a real grip on that right now. I can tell you, with absolute confidence, that we don't need to cut any more state employees, other than those who have come out of the affected areas and where they're no longer needed."
Gov. Kathleen Blanco called for legislators to come together to tackle the current crisis, adding, "Some of you will consider these cuts too painful, and you will try to avoid them. Let me warn you ' this is just the beginning." Despite Blanco's call for unity, Cravins says there's been more contention than consensus. "In my 14 years, this is the worst I've seen it," he says. "It's the worst division I've ever seen because it's factionalized in several areas. I'm not saying that it may not come together, but it's not going to be easy."
Earlier this month, about 4,000 state employees were dropped from the state payroll, most of which had been with LSU's hospitals and medical schools that were devastated in New Orleans. As of press time, Anne Soileau, acting civil service director, says that only two state agencies had submitted plans for layoffs.
Greg Albrecht, chief economist for the Louisiana Legislative Fiscal Office, says that more state job cuts are likely. "Only because the magnitude of the cuts being contemplated are so large, I don't see how you can do it without some kind of layoffs," he says. "However, I've been listening to the cut proposals coming from the departments so far, and the first round they're attempting to cut without large numbers of body layoffs. If they have vacancies, those are going. Student workers, those are going. Temporary people, those are going. They're trying to avoid or minimize reductions of filled positions of people that are on board and that have been there. If we're ever going to come back, you kind of need those people around.
"But realistically, to cut the entire billion or so dollars out," he adds, "I don't see how you can do it without some meaningful layoff reductions in the workforce."
The Lafayette superintendent insists the budget is illegal and vows to fight on.
"I am not a scientist," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said numerous times, a response that other members of his party have parroted.
Republicans are running strong races against endangered Democratic incumbents in states such as North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska. Republicans are also looking to replace retiring Democrats in Iowa and West Virginia with a GOP lawmaker.
Republican congressman Vance McAllister is trying to make up to Louisiana voters for getting too close to a married former employee.
You may not like all of “it,” but U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, unlike many of her colleagues, isn't sitting around twiddling her thumbs in Congress.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.