Friday, 14 August 2015 12:59
Jindal's legacy continues: Louisiana faces $720M budget mess and gimmick fixes
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one-time-moneyIn Louisiana, no news is good news, when it comes to the budget.  In fact, sometimes bad news can be good news, relatively speaking.

Unfortunately, today is not a "no-news" day here in Louisiana.

The bad news? 

 Louisiana is expecting a deep budget deficit once again.

The good news?

It’s not as bad as the one the Louisiana legislature grappled over this spring session that went into affect July 1.

The AP has just reported that the Louisiana legislature and the new governor will be facing more budget cuts that racked the spring session.  Last year, the State of Louisiana was faced with a $1.6B deficit which resulted in over $700M in tax increases along with a bogus tax credit enabling Governor Bobby Jindal to keep his “no-tax” pledge to Grover Norquist.

However, even though Jindal no longer in the Governor’s mansion, his legacy of budget gimmicks lives on.  A top legislator is looking to using one of the Jindal's gimmicks to deal with next year’s mess—using one time money.

Only two months after a difficult budget-balancing session, state lawmakers Friday got their first official glimpse of the shortfall they already face for next year: $713 million.

News of a horizon filled with future budget gaps wasn't unexpected for the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget.

The $25 billion budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 contains about $550 million in patchwork financing that isn't expected to be available a year later, accounting for much of the projected gap forecast for the 2016-17 budget year.

The shortfall also assumes inflationary increases in health care, retirement and salary costs that lawmakers don't always choose to fund.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Jack Donahue said use of the piecemeal financing from a tax amnesty program, state surplus and agency reserve accounts helps keep the state from having to make deep cuts to public health care services and colleges.

"I think using one-time money under those circumstances is the right way to go," said Donahue, R-Mandeville.

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OTHER NEWS

Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne will deliver the keynote address at the 2015 “Lt. Governor’s Tourism Summit hosted by Louisiana Travel Promotion Association”.  His speech will cover the state of tourism in Louisiana including triumphs of the past year and a budget outlook for next year. As in years past, he will highlight his passion for Louisiana using music, videos and stories to inspire the state’s tourism leaders to sell Louisiana with enthusiasm.  The event is Tuesday at the Crowne Plaza @ 8am.

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