Senate Shoots Down Fiscal Hawks' Bills

May 31, 2013

After yesterday’s committee approval, Senators will consider whether to try a new way to write the budget, which will more clearly designate what the legislature has the power to allocate.

They’ll also consider whether to try limiting the use of money that doesn’t come from taxes on expenses that occur annually.

A bipartisan group of representatives, called the fiscal hawks, sponsored the package. The group shares the ideal that Louisiana’s budgeting process should be more straightforward and transparent.

Rep. Lance Harris, a leader of the Hawks who sponsored one of the bills, said once the budgetary tomfoolery is sorted out, lawmakers can concentrate on more important issues – like how to govern the state.

“They know the money is correct and the budget is right and there’s no shaky accounting in that budget, then we can have an honest debate," Harris said. "Do we grow government and raise taxes? Or do we cut government and lower taxes? Hopefully we’ll come in between there somehow.”

The group of fiscal hawks has grown from members that could be counted on one hand five years ago to nearly a third of the House today.

But the Senate committee chopped up their package, watered it down, and stamped it with an expiration date.

Only two of the hawks’ seven bills will get to the Senate floor in the remaining week of the session.