"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."
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain tight enough in the polls to leave the outcome in doubt.
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.
Corporations spending in state elections; Kenny G and Hong Kong; states resist gay marriage and more national and international news for Thursday, October 23, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
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.
President Barack Obama is turning to black radio listeners to plead for midterm votes, a targeted approach to drum up Democratic support at a time when many candidates don't want him around in person.
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.
State education officials are preparing to release performance scores for public schools and public school districts.
Saints coach Sean Payton is starting a new week by emphasizing, repeatedly, the many good things he noticed during New Orleans' latest loss.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.
Even though it had been rumored for months, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu finally pulled the trigger recently on a major campaign shakeup that moved control over to a few Big Easy insiders.