BATON ROUGE – Another push for budget reform will go on the agenda for a state representative who represents a portion of Livingston Parish.
Rep. Clay Schexnayder – whose district also covers parts of Ascension, St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes – said he will make the attempt even though he has doubts it will happen during an election year session.
“I think it’s going to be a struggle again this year for the session, but it will be a chance to put people’s feet to the fire and try to move this state forward as we should have,” said Schexnayder, R-Gonzales.
He said he was disappointed at the lack of reform measures implemented in the 2018 session, and wants to push harder for it this year.
Part of the plan would involve a redirection of funds dedicated to corrections and contracts for consultants, the latter of which costs the state approximately $30 million annually.
“Consulting and corrections are areas where we can do a much better job,” he said. “We’ve done all this deficit reform, but in the last two years it’s been there, we’ve had to go back and fix it, and we were supposed to recognize a lot of money we’d save by doing this, and I haven’t seen any of that money going elsewhere.”
He believes the Edwards Administration needs to change its direction on the state industrial sector, which figures prominently in the economies of Ascension, St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes.
“The sad part with this administration is that we have done nothing to try to help industrial jobs to this state,” he said. “We need to work together at the table and give in a little bit.”
Schexnayder said he supports pay hikes for teachers, a top priority of the Edwards Administration in 2019.
He said he would only support a permanent pay hike and would not support temporary raises.
“Teachers don’t want that,” he said. “We need to offer permanent pay raises to keep the good teachers here, something that falls into the need for a skilled work force.
“The only way we will attract new industry is to bolster the skilled work force, and we can’t do that without keeping good teachers.” Schexnayder said.