Media Commons

When discussing Louisiana’s budget troubles, the blame is often laid on statutory dedications.

“We have $400-million of taxpayer money tied up in statutory dedications. We need to unlock that money,” Treasurer John Kennedy frequently criticizes.

Four House members -- Chris Broadwater, Rick Edmonds, Kirk Talbot and Jay Morris – all Republicans – decided to try it.

screen capture, S. Lincoln

“Contracts, contracts, contracts—this is the way to clean it up.”

What had been a behind-the-scenes struggle for control of state government broke out into the open in House Appropriations Monday morning. 

Republican Caucus chairman Lance Harris brought up his resolution to require the executive branch to start terminating all state contracts by March first.

Hurry Up And Wait

Feb 22, 2016
Sue Lincoln

One week into the special session, here’s where things stand:

“The Senate has taken all the appropriate action that we constitutionally could do,” Senate President John Alario said Wednesday, after that chamber approved two bills; one to tap the Rainy Day Fund and the other to use BP money. Those measures are now awaiting a hearing in House Appropriations.

The full House has approved repealing the SAVE Act.

“The contents of it to me were a fiction,” Hammond Rep. Chris Broadwater said when urging his fellow lawmakers to approve the repeal.

That bill awaits assignment to a Senate committee.

Media Commons

 When trying to fix Louisiana’s budget last session, corporate tax breaks were on the chopping block.

“What we did was essentially go in and suspend the tax exemptions, tax credits and tax rebates by a certain percentage,” Monroe Rep. Katrina Jackson, the author of  those bills explained to House Ways and Means Committee members Friday morning.

Jackson’s bills cut the tax breaks by 28-percent for 3 years. They haven’t worked as expected, however: currently, corporate tax collections are a negative number. The state has paid out $210-million more to businesses than it has collected in taxes.

Jackson’s bills for this session would make the 28-percent cut permanent.

screen capture by S. Lincoln

“As I understand it, we have competing bills.”

Thus began a lively debate between Speaker Pro Tem Walt Leger and Prairieville Rep. Tony Bacala.

“I have introduced a bill to eliminate Earned Income Tax Credits, and the other bill is to double Earned Income Tax credits,” Bacala explained.

Leger, a Democrat, began with a bit of history, noting that the federal EITC was initiated by Louisiana’s former U.S. Senator, Russell Long.