House Speaker Schexnayder defends state budget dealings and his leadership


House Speaker Clay Schexnayder fires back at critics of his handling of last-minute state budget negotiations in the recent legislative session. The Ascension Parish representative has drawn fire for pushing through a budget bill in the closing minutes; one that lacked desired funding for teacher pay raises, the Department of Health and more. Schexnayder says he stands by what came out of the session…:

“Someone sent me PAR and CABL’s evaluations of the budget. The budget is a GOOD budget; a good, conservative budget that moves our state forward. That has excellent projects in it.”

He points to effectively investing surplus cash in needed road and bridge projects, replenishing the state’s so-called Rainy Day Fund and making substantial reductions in state retirement system debt.  Some of Schexnayder’s more vocal critics say there was little or no communication of budget matters between members and Speaker’s office. Schexnayder rejects that idea…:

“These members had the same ability to walk across those aisles and be a part of this process, just like everybody else…and for them to sit there and say that they didn’t have time, and they didn’t know what was in these bills is crazy.”

Schexnayder is being criticized for his part in raising the state’s spending cap; something conservatives wanted to avoid at all costs. Some feel that’s not responsible, and call Schexnayder on it. As for the accusations of waiting until the last minute to pass a budget bill, Schexnayder blames fellow lawmakers who resisted voting up a procedural rules suspension that would have hastened the process…:

“That would have gave plenty of time for us to look at HB 1, HB2…and be able to go through it and dissect it.”

Schexnayder calls his naysayers at the Capitol “a small group of blockers, instead of helpers.” This was Schexnayder’s last session as House Speaker, as he is term limited. He is running for Secretary of State this fall.

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