The $1.6-billion state budget deficit is going to be a major factor in the in the gubernatorial election this fall. All four announced candidates for governor appeared at a forum earlier this month, and offered their ideas on how to deal with the shortfall.
Skies may actually be clear over Baton Rouge today, but gloom hangs over the state capitol, as the Revenue Estimating Conference downgraded Louisiana’s income forecasts Monday. That means there’s a $103-million shortfall for the current fiscal year. And the deficit for the next budget year, which starts July 1, has ballooned to $1.6-billion.
Rather than attending the Washington, D.C. Mardi Gras festivities, or Iowa’s Freedom Summit for GOP presidential hopefuls, Governor Bobby Jindal courted a base for a possible 2016 presidential run, keynoting both the Louisiana Right to Life March and his own “The Response” prayer rally. The two events were held concurrently on the campus of LSU.
“We have told the Governor we give up. We’re ready to go home,” Senator Robert Adley announced, prompting laughter from his fellow lawmakers, as Senate President John Alario responded, “Very good.”
2014 can be viewed as a session of hits and misses. Governor Jindal told the press he believes he scored a hit with his budget, which includes pay raises for state workers, as well as a bit more money for higher education.
Conference committees are where all the action is now, at the end of the session. But just what is a “conference committee”?
“There are bills that, you know, the House and Senate will disagree on and in many cases you can’t get it worked out,” Slidell Representative Kevin Pearson explains, “So a conference committee is selected to try and resolve that.”
“We have to err on the side of life and give that baby a voice.”
That’s the philosophy behind a bill to require keeping a pregnant woman on life support until her child can be born. HB 1274 is headed to conference committee after its author, New Orleans Representative Austin Badon, urged the full House Thursday to reject an amendment added by the Senate earlier this week.
Louisiana has billions of taxpayer dollars tied up in thousands of contracts—for goods and services, consulting, privatization and more. Lawmakers, frustrated by the continuing battles to balance the state budget, are pushing to take a closer look at those contracts.
It looks like the cost of a driver’s license is going up—but so is the length of time between renewals.
“The fee will be more, but it’s a six year fee, so over time it’ll be the same,” explains Franklin Foil.
The Baton Rouge representative authored the measure increasing both the cost and expiration dates for all Louisiana drivers’ licenses. A basic license, which now costs $21.50 and is good for four years, will be going up to $32.50, and will be valid for six years.
It was just a couple of months ago that John Maginnis appeared on WRKF’s “The Jim Engster Show,” talking about Governor Bobby Jindal’s presidential aspirations.
“Outside Louisiana, there’s no serious talk about Jindal being a serious contender,” Maginnis told Engster and WRKF’s listeners. “But I think he’s still a viable vice-presidential contender, a running mate.”
Longtime political reporter John Maginnis passed away unexpectedly Sunday, at the age of 66.