Fiscal Hawks
5:40 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Proposals Offered to Fix Holes in State Budget Process

A coalition of state representatives is pushing a slew of bills and amendments to reform Louisiana’s budget process. The lawmakers are fed up with rushed legislation, cutting higher education and healthcare year after year, and procedural tomfoolery.

If you think of Louisiana’s budgeting process as a water-bucket, there’s a problem... There's a hole in the bucket.

Rep. Brett Geymann of Lake Charles and his group of “fiscal hawks” say before we address the source of the water – that is, take up the Governor’s proposed tax reforms – we need to fix the bucket.

How? Geymann has some ideas.

“And that is, to have more transparency in the budget, prioritize how we spend our money, and also clarifying how we should constitutionally craft the budget.”

The budget is routinely put off until the last days of the session.

To ensure there’s more discussion of what’s in the budget, the house has to have the budget two days before a final vote. And that final vote has to occur no less than five days before the end of the session.

Another bill would completely change the way the allocations are prioritized.

"If higher education and/or healthcare are going to be taking a reduction, what we propose happens is, the budget be split into two separate instruments. One with everything that’s required by the constitution that we absolutely have to fund, and the other with everything else.”

The last piece of legislation would clarify how one-time funding can be used. Then, Geymann says, the bucket could hold water.