Jan Moller

As we look ahead to deciding on the next governor of Louisiana, we’ve been also looking back, taking a cue from Huey Long, known for the “Share our Wealth” plan under the motto, “Every Man a King”.

Jan Moller with the Louisiana Budget Project points out that every issue that plagues the state – and the reason we end up on the bottom of so many “good” lists – can be traced back to Louisiana’s ranking as the third poorest state in the nation.

Sue Lincoln

While campaign songs may be “so last century”, many of the same issues that prompted Huey Long to pen “Every Man a King” still plague Louisiana more than 80 years later. A line in the song says, “There’s enough for all people to share,” yet Louisiana’s on-going budget problems contradict that sentiment. For the men who would be king -- the candidates for governor – the state’s budget problems dwarf everything else.

“The budget is going to be the first, second and third topics for the next governor to deal with,” Louisiana Budget Project director Jan Moller says, noting last year’s budget, the current budget, and next year’s budget are all in the red.

 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.”

Jan Moller, the Director of the Louisiana Budget Project, joins guest-host Bob Mann in studio today to discuss Louisiana's surplus money. Governor Bobby Jindal's administration says we have a $178.5 million surplus, but others are saying different. Jan and Bob discuss this, as well as the money in the reserve fund for the Office of Group Benefits which Jan says the Jindal Administration "blew through", and what that means for state employees.

Louisiana blogger at cenlamar.com Lamar White, Jr. is with us for the last half of the show today to discuss Texas and Louisiana Politics. They start by discussing a controversial TV ad running in Texas by the Wendy Davis campaign that accuses opponent Greg Abbott of not supporting the disabled. Bob and Lamar also touch on the recent Senate debate on Tuesday night, the status of the 6th Congressional District race, how the Louisiana campaigns are doing thus far, and more.