Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards welcomed Vice President Mike Pence to Louisiana. Upon his arrival, Gov. Edwards presented the Vice President with a letter outlining several areas of concern for the state of Louisiana in the President’s recently released budget. Particularly, Gov. Edwards outlined the success of Medicaid expansion in Louisiana and the importance of continuing revenue sharing payments from oil and natural gas leasing and production in the Gulf of Mexico.
“I appreciate Vice President Pence coming to Louisiana. As Governor, he expanded Medicaid in his home state of Indiana, and he understands the importance of protecting this coverage for the people who need it most. The Vice President and I also share a passion for the Jobs for America’s Graduates program, a non-profit program that helps at-risk youth. Prior to Louisiana’s expansion of the program, Indiana once held the most programs in the country. I shared my concerns with the Vice President about the administration’s budget proposal, and I promised to work with him and President Trump to craft a plan that doesn’t unfairly target our state, but achieves our shared goal of fiscal responsibility.”
JAG is a 36-year-old nationwide non-profit program that has helped more than one million young people facing difficult challenges earn their high school diploma or equivalency degree, successfully receive post-secondary education, and find meaningful employment. In 2016, Gov. Edwards expanded the program from 69 to 155, making the state among the highest with JAG programs in the country. Under Gov. Edwards’ direction, JAG-LA has grown from 64 to 113 programs serving approximately 5,000 students, ranking Louisiana among states with the highest number of JAG programs in the country.
The administration’s budget proposal would result in a major rollback of Louisiana federal taxpayer dollars being sent back home to fund some of the most important priorities in the state. The current proposal would have a negative impact on our state economy in the form of economic losses to healthcare providers and industries that rely on the vitality of our coast. Under Louisiana’s Medicaid expansion, more than 428,000 working poor have received lifesaving health coverage and the state is estimated to save more than $300 million in the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2017. Additionally, the budget eliminates GOMESA payments, revenues from oil and natural gas leasing and production on the Gulf of Mexico Federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) with the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas (Gulf Producing States, or GPS). Louisiana is in line to receive between $145 and $176 million annually in revenue sharing payments that have already been dedicated to the protection and restoration of our coast. Gov. Edwards’ statement on the budget proposal is available by clicking here.
Gov. Edwards’ letter to Vice President Pence is available by clicking here.