Capitol Access

Weekdays at the bottom of the hour during Morning Edition

Reports on Louisiana politics, government and the people shaping state policy.

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courtesy Bob Mann

When the State Bond Commission met Thursday, they considered the plan to issue $275-million in bonds in March, in order to fund this year’s capital outlay projects.

But the author of this year’s Capital Outlay bill expressed reservations about the deal.


Sue Lincoln

“The best thing you can do for a stable funding for government is to have a well-balanced stool.”

But when your budget – your stool -- doesn’t balance, what do you do? 


Budget 101: Outgo

Jan 18, 2017
Sue Lincoln

Yesterday we looked at state income, as part of Budget 101. Today we’ll look at the outgo.

Where does Louisiana spend its $9-billion of State General Fund revenue?  Let’s begin with non-discretionary items. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says first and foremost, we pay our debts.

Sue Lincoln

Shortfalls, streamlining, tax reform – as Louisiana’s budget problems continue to dominate discussions at the capitol, now would be a good time for a basic review. Let’s call it “Budget 101”.

We’ll start with state income –also known as revenue.  

Sue Lincoln

“Do I have any good news here I can give you?” Legislative Fiscal Analyst Greg Albrecht asked the Revenue Estimating Conference Friday.

“I am even more pessimistic than Greg,” said the Division of Administration's fiscal analyst, Manfred Dix, “So I don’t think the honorable panel wants to hear much what I have to say.”

Both knew the numbers they were giving weren’t what members of the budget forecasting panel wanted to hear.


wikimedia commons

When the Revenue Estimating Conference meets this morning, “They will peg a number that we are short in the current midyear,” says Governor John Bel Edwards. “I’ve been told to expect up to a $300-million shortfall.”


Louisiana Department of Education

The annual application period for the state’s school voucher program is now open, despite uncertainty over availability of state funding.

Due to a 2013 Louisiana Supreme Court ruling, vouchers are not funded through the Minimum Foundation Program, or MFP. That’s the money public schools receive from both state and local tax dollars.

On Monday, Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal decided Type 2 charter schools don’t qualify for MFP funding either. 


media commons

The Revenue Estimating Conference meets Friday to put an official number on the mid-year budget shortfall and start the wheels moving on cuts – which are expected to exceed $300-million. Where will the axe fall?

“Because Higher Ed and parts of health care are not protected, I believe that once again, sadly, we’re going to take a large part of the burden," says Louisiana Higher Education Commissioner Joe Rallo.

Feeding the Tax Base

Jan 10, 2017
Sue Lincoln

When the Sales Tax Streamlining Commission met Monday, they considered doing away with the state sales tax exemption on food purchased for home consumption.

“This would be a revenue neutral thing,” commission chair Julie Stokes told the group. “Food would be fully taxed, and the rate on everything would be able to come down a half of a penny.”

wbur.org

With a new Congress in place, it’s item one on their agenda:

“We’re going to repeal Obamacare,” Vice President-elect Mike Pence declared last week, and initial legislation for repeal is expected to start moving through the congressional process this week. But what happens after repeal?


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