Jay Dardenne

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Now that we’ve established that many state lawmakers suffer from fiscal myopia, are they doing any envisioning – however fuzzy the view – toward Louisiana’s future? Representative Steve Carter, a Baton Rouge Republican, says it’s not the first time he’s been asked that question.


California Coastal Commission

“I see a deficit of just over $1.5-billion, correct? That's the fiscal cliff we keep talking about?” New Orleans Representative Gary Carter asked, as the latest tally of next July's fall off in state revenue was presented to the Joint Budget Committee last week.

Yet despite all the warning signs, some lawmakers don't see the drop as being all that steep.


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Having worn glasses since I was six years old, I'm very familiar with myopia, which is also known as nearsightedness. Lately it seems some lawmakers have it, too, when it comes to Louisiana's fiscal issues.


Sue Lincoln

“Come July 1, we are all tumbling off the cliff together,” Louisiana Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne warned the Baton Rouge Rotary Club.


Sue Lincoln

Only 344 more days till Louisiana reaches the edge of the fiscal cliff, yet most state legislators are following the “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” prescription. Not so for the administration, though, as the issue loomed large over Thursday’s State Bond Commission meeting.

Budget 101: Outgo

Jul 4, 2017
courtesy: Tax Structure Task Force

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 what are known as “non-discretionary” items.


screenshot from legis.la.gov

“This is essentially the same bill that we passed out a couple of weeks ago, that we thought was responsible and made complete sense,” Senate Finance chair Eric LaFleur told his committee. “It just took a little, a week I think, for the House to come around. And I don’t foresee it getting any better than it is now.”


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“The more we fund this year, the bigger the fiscal cliff is going to be next year. And we can’t sustain more taxes. It’s irresponsible!”

Representative Valarie Hodges (R-Denham Springs) summed up the thinking of a majority of House Appropriations committee members, as special session budget hearings began where the regular session left off – with a bill that doesn’t spend all the estimated revenue.


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“We’re trying to get away from having consistent midyear cuts, which, as of right now, the only way I can think of doing it is not appropriating all of the money,” House Appropriations chair Cameron Henry said, as he called for his committee to approve what he referred to as a “standstill” budget, spending just 97.5% of the revenue forecast for the next fiscal year.


Sue Lincoln

What began as a legislative preview seminar at the LSU Law School morphed into a philosophy lesson when lawmakers were asked, “How do you balance wants and needs in budgeting policy?”


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