Another budget shortfall for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2016 and another likely heated battle over stabilizing the Louisiana budget. Today, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards released the following statement:
Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards released the following statement on the budget shortfall for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2016 (FY 16). The Revenue Estimating Conference announced that the FY 16 shortfall was approximately $313 million. According to state law, any deficit for the previous fiscal year must be addressed prior to the end of the next fiscal year. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne will outline the specifics of the budget stabilization proposals at a Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget hearing on Friday, Nov. 18.
Louisiana’s task force instructed to produce fiscal reform has suggested, very wisely, the elimination of the inventory tax. Not only will that need other changes attached, but also a lot of luck to succeed.
Increasingly clearly, a special state panel convened to study recommendations changing Louisiana’s tax code serves little more than an excuse to lock in overgrown government, specifically paying for Medicaid expansion, by making a temporary tax hike permanent.
According to Chris Stelly, Louisiana state is very competitive and becoming increasingly diversified in its entertainment business. Stelly, who is Executive Director Louisiana Office of Entertainment Industry, Division of Louisiana Economic Development, made these and other comments in a Facebook Live interview with Bayoubuzz Publisher Stephen Sabludowsky, Friday morning.
More particularly, Stelly said the film industry is making a comeback after a slight setback due to the budget woes which created a perception problem that the film industry was failing.
A new report adds impetus to the idea that Louisiana can save money by rearranging resources in correctional policy.
Last week my column for The Advocate noted how greater reliance upon private operation of state prisons could save the state money, contrary to the budgetary decision this year that cut reimbursement to private operators. By doing that, those operators need no longer provide rehabilitative and treatment programs, on par with local facilities holding state prisoners that receive the same $24.39 per day per inmate. About half of all state prisoners at any given time serve time in a local facility, but fewer than half of those institutions provide this kind of programming standard in state lockups.
The impact from the Great Flood of 2016 continues to be felt across Louisiana. Almost one-third of the state, 20 parishes, has been declared a disaster area. Over 100,000 people have applied for FEMA disaster aid. Initial estimates are that over 40,000 home were destroyed and possibly 90% of the people impacted by the storm did not have flood insurance.
That giant sucking sound you heard came from film industry locusts extracting money from Louisiana’s taxpayers. But after that happened, a model for the future of the state’s Motion Picture Investor Film Credit had its debut recently in Shreveport.
For the first six months of the year, a constant barrage of state budgetary doom and gloom littered news reports and incessantly occupied the airspace. This political messaging machine was revved up and driven hard to stress the need for taxpayers to pony up much more money for the government to solve state spending problems – despite the increasingly worsening economic conditions encountered by our residents. As the story went, there was simply no other choice, and failure to pay would lead to a chaotic world filled with a litany of unacceptable consequences, such as canceled football seasons and shuttered hospitals and universities.
Rightly so that Louisiana’s fiscal structure deserves blame for the state’s chronic inability to fund chosen priorities properly, but unhelpful attitudes persisting in the political culture also hamper the state on this account; in fact, beliefs of some policy-makers about the scope and role of government that determines policy choices made run counter to the ideas about these inserted into the U.S. Constitution.