state budget

 A bill requiring all tax exemptions and credits be included in the budgeting process – letting the legislature decide how much could be spent on each annually – exposed a rift within the group that’s been pushing cuts in lieu of raising revenue.

Covington Representative John Schroder says it’s time for more legislative oversight of this money.

“We don’t know how much money we’re going to have to budget, until all that gets paid first – that $8.5 billion and growing – gets paid first.”

That’s nearly half the total revenue the state takes in, and it’s spent automatically before it ever makes it into the legislative budgeting process. Schroder says he believes that violates the state constitution.

Wallis Watkins

Industrial leaders in the Houma-Thibodaux area heard from Governor-elect John Bel Edwards Tuesday. He began the luncheon speech by advising them the state budget crisis is not going to be easily fixed.

“The relatively easy stuff was done years ago. The low-hanging fruit’s been picked,” Edwards said.

He also warned them some of their business tax breaks could be going away.

“We may need to achieve some savings by reducing or eliminating tax expenditures that we then reallocate to higher priority items like higher education.”

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.

The House Appropriations Committee has advanced a bill that would keep highway dollars committed to road work by limiting how much can be shifted to State Police.

“Throughout this state, the common theme is that the legislators have raided the Transportation Trust Fund for other needs,” said New Iberia Rep. Terry Landry, in explaining reasons for authoring HB 208.

Landry said one of those reasons is not any kind of problem with the Department of Public Safety or Louisiana State Police.

Issue No. 1: The State Budget

Apr 17, 2015
Robert Travis Scott
Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana

The first week of the 2015 state legislative session is in the books.

The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana recently put out a guide to the budget crisis lawmakers are grappling with. And PAR President, Robert Travis Scott, is following along as the budgeting process unfolds.