Governor John Bel Edwards proposed a budget to lawmakers today that would see increased spending on education. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says the spending is something Edwards has been pushing for years and now the state has the resources to do that.
“We don’t have an official forecast yet from the REC which has complicated things just like it did last year, but we feel very confident that by the time the bill starts moving in the legislative process that we will have a forecast that will recognize the reality of where we are,” said Dardenne.
The Governor’s 2020-21 spending plan is based on the anticipation that $103 million is added to the revenue forecast. Dardenne highlights boosts in spending to higher ed and K-12 education.
“The MFP will be boosted by a significant percentage. It won’t be the entire 2+% that is contemplated throughout the years,” said Dardenne.
Edwards has made his priority of early childhood education clear for his second term. Dardenne says last year the state was able to put in a sizable investment and this year the state will come close to putting in that same amount, trying to address waiting lists for early education.
“We’ll make a meaningful attempt to try and start educating young people, literally from birth to three years, which everybody recognizes as the time you need to start the educational process,” said Dardenne.
Last week, the Legislature’s new GOP leadership, House Speaker Clay Schexnayder and Senate President Page Cortez, refused to support the income forecasts recommended by nonpartisan economists which the Edwards administration had hoped to adopt.