state budget

Full Audio: State of the State

Apr 13, 2015

Bobby Jindal addresses the Louisiana legislature one last time as governor, kicking off the 2015 legislative session.

It’s a fiscal session, so lawmakers will be focused on finding solutions to close a $1.6 billion budget gap, with the future of higher education and healthcare services at stake. The governor has already made his “guardrails” clear: he won’t accept any tax increases.

Beyond the budget, Jindal is aiming to yank Common Core education standards from Louisiana’s public schools. And he’s looking to frame the debate around a religious freedom bill filed in anticipation of a Supreme Court ruling on the marriage of same-sex couples.

With host Amy Jeffries, Michael Henderson, director of LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab, and political scientist Robert Hogan provide context and analysis as Gov. Bobby Jindal lays out his agenda for the 2015 legislative session.

The Louisiana survey takes the pulse of the people every year about major policy issues facing the state. LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab has been rolling out the results of this year’s edition.

Research Director Michael Henderson agrees public opinion is leaving lawmakers between a rock and a hard place when it comes to closing the state budget hole. As for state services, the public gives the colleges and universities particularly high marks. And though a majority still opposes it, there's slowly growing acceptance of same-sex marriage.

Sue Lincoln

The $1.6-billion state budget deficit is going to be a major factor in the in the gubernatorial election this fall. All four announced candidates for governor appeared at a forum earlier this month, and offered their ideas on how to deal with the shortfall.

Skies may actually be clear over Baton Rouge today, but gloom hangs over the state capitol, as the Revenue Estimating Conference downgraded Louisiana’s income forecasts Monday. That means there’s a $103-million shortfall for the current fiscal year. And the deficit for the next budget year, which starts July 1, has ballooned to $1.6-billion.

Melinda Deslatte
Associated Press

Melinda Deslatte, capitol correspondent for the Associated Press, sums up 2014, or at least the year in Louisiana politics.