Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says the mid-year budget cuts proposed last week by the Jindal administration could end up costing you more at the grocery store and elsewhere.
“You know, if we downsize in meat inspection, that means plants will close,” Strain warns. And meat prices will go up.
The Department of Agriculture has been told to cut $2.6-million from its spending between now and June 30, and Strain says that means he will have no choice but to reduce the number of inspectors his department employs.
When Earl K. Long Hospital closed nearly two years ago, LSU’s private partner in Baton Rouge — Our Lady of the Lake — took over patient care, but refused to take care of inmates. That meant a whole lot of scrambling for Angola Warden Burl Cain.
Perhaps you know them as the “yellow shirts”. Certainly, state Senator Troy Brown of Napoleonville thinks of disabilities advocates that way.
“Y’all remember when y’all came with the yellow shirts? Let me tell you something. That works!” Brown offers as encouragement.
Disabilities advocates have been meeting with their local state lawmakers, trying to prepare for what promises to be an agonizing and contentious legislative session, as it centers on the budget and a $1.6-billion revenue shortfall.
A new series of conversations about what to do with the East Baton Rouge Parish Schools has begun.
“Beyond Bricks EBR” got started in response to an effort to restructure the parish school district and allow individual schools to be more autonomous. Anna Fogle got drawn in to the search for other solutions as the head of a group representing parents of children in the Gifted and Talented Program, which was threatened by the restructuring plan.
But the conversations are much broader than just Gifted and Talented.
Rev. Robin McCullough-Bade with the Interfaith Federation, is helping to get churches and faith leaders involved.
Since it’s an election year, it’s highly unlikely that lawmakers will risk the wrath of voters or the governor by raising taxes to fill Louisiana’s $1.6-billion budget hole. But they will almost certainly be taking a hard look at state tax breaks to bridge the budget gap.
Finding the way down off the fiscal cliff could be as simple as turning around, and looking back at the path that brought us here.
“The root of our current budget problems goes back to the decision in 2008, under Gov. Jindal, to repeal the Stelly tax changes that voters passed in 2002,” says Louisiana Budget Project director Jan Moller. “That has taken about six to seven hundred million dollars our of our tax base every year.”
“Who will starve, and who will get some breadcrumbs?”
That’s the question Southeastern Louisiana University professor Dayne Sherman — and many others — are asking, as Louisiana colleges and universities have been told to expect up to $400-million in cuts for the next fiscal year. That amounts to 40 percent of their current state funding.