John Bel Edwards

Sue Lincoln

“The best thing you can do for a stable funding for government is to have a well-balanced stool,” says state Representative Julie Stokes, who is also a certified public accountant.

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

Budget 101: Income

Jul 3, 2017
LA Tax Reform Task Force

A new fiscal year started this past weekend, so this might be a good time for a basic review. Let’s call it “Budget 101”.

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


npr.org

The latest state employment figures are out, and the song remains the same one we’ve heard before from legislative fiscal analyst Greg Albrecht.

“We’ve been in a real decline, while the rest of the country has not. What we really need is job growth.”

Louisiana’s 5.7% unemployment rate, compared to the national average of 4.3%, is impacting sales tax and personal income tax collections, which together make up 61% of total state revenue.

Sue Lincoln

Heading to the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) for the latest on Tropical Storm Cindy, I felt my shoulders tightening up, and caught myself thinking, “Oh no, not again!”

But what about those who are still rebuilding from last year’s floods? Is Louisiana prepared to help with the emotional and psychological stress of this event?


wikimedia commons

When will lawmakers be called back for the next special session to deal with the fiscal cliff?

“You know, that’s a good question,” Governor John Bel Edwards said, when asked. “And I truly don’t know.”


Sue Lincoln

“I move the House of Representatives adjourn sine die,” the “dean” of the House Andy Anders intoned Friday evening, receiving cheers in response.

The second special session of the year delivered a budget only marginally different than the one proposed by the Senate during the regular session. That had many – including Governor John Bel Edwards – wondering aloud whether the special session had truly been necessary.

legis.la.gov

“We are a body that’s in complete chaos. The House doesn’t have leadership,” says Baton Rouge Representative Ted James.

A Democrat, James has used his Friday, Saturday  and Sunday away from the Capitol to talk with other members about making a change in House leadership: in particular, “The Speaker, the Chairman of Appropriations.”


Wallis Watkins

It appeared no lawmakers wanted a special session, so when Appropriations chair Cameron Henry told the House there was no budget deal – with 30 minutes left on the regular session clock -- the end of the regular session turned into something resembling a bench-clearing brawl.


Sue Lincoln

Governor John Bel Edwards saw some victories for his agenda in the Senate this week, with the advancement of criminal justice reforms and anti-discrimination legislation, as well as a bill to increase the minimum wage. The House, on the other hand?

“Quite frankly, I’m disappointed – particularly in the House,” the governor said, with a sigh.


Nothing Personal

May 15, 2017
Sue Lincoln

The friction between House Republican leadership and Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards is no secret. But is it just partisan politics, or is it personal? I sat down with House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry to try and find out.

“The governor and I get along just fine,” Henry insisted. “We went deer hunting once, duck hunting twice last season. No, personally, he and I get along just fine.”

Henry admits he has some philosophical differences with the governor when it comes to budgeting.

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