Gov. Bobby Jindal. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Friday, June 21, 2013 6:49 PM
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal removed $4 million slated to expand a program that provides at-home services to the developmentally disabled from next year's $25 billion budget, as part of dozens of line-item vetoes issued Friday.
Many of the vetoes stripped funding that lawmakers had added to the 2013-14 budget for disabled services, including dollars for a family support program, assistive technology services and regional resource centers to help people access services.
To explain his vetoes, Jindal said lawmakers didn't include enough funding to pay for an expected increase in the use of existing Medicaid services for the fiscal year that begins July 1. That means the state cannot afford to put new money into other health programs, the Republican governor said.
Also cut from the budget was money for arts grants, funding to continue operations of certain children's health clinics and a requirement that local emergency preparedness offices get a share of a federal emergency management grant.
Jindal removed language requiring the state Department of Education to cut its contracts by $2 million and mandating the state spend money on a specific type of aquatic weed control device. An attempt to redirect $2.5 million from a state economic development fund to other items was stripped.
But the biggest cuts fell on measures to boost funding for the disabled. Nearly half of the governor's 31 line-item vetoes eliminated dollars that lawmakers had set aside for programs for people with disabilities.
Lawmakers had been sympathetic to requests they received during public testimony for dollars for at-home and community-based services for people who can't entirely take care of themselves and for families struggling to cope with disabled children.
Jindal cut $250,000 that lawmakers had included for the Louisiana Assistive Technology Access Network, or LATAN, which works with disabled people to find technology that can help them work, study or cope with daily life.
The governor also removed the $4 million that lawmakers added to include 200 more people in a program that pays for at-home and community-based care for the disabled.
Family members of developmentally disabled children who need around-the-clock care said 10,000 people are on a waiting list for services. They show up each year with children in wheelchairs, packing committee rooms and pleading with lawmakers to shrink the waiting list.
After using his line-item veto power, Jindal signed off on the remaining spending plans and praised lawmakers' work, saying they passed "a fiscally responsible budget that is good for the people of Louisiana."