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by Stephen Waguespack, President and CEO of Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI)

These are challenging times for many in Louisiana, including our employers.
 
The state budget deficit has dominated the headlines for months, with several articles unfairly targeting the private sector to shoulder most of the blame for public sector spending trends.

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With the state’s significant fiscal problems, some legislators are looking to eliminate the state’s film tax credits. This would be a huge mistake for the state; however, it seems some legislators are unaware of the benefits of the program that started in 2002. Since that time, thousands of film, TV and video productions have been made in Louisiana, giving our state worldwide exposure worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

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by Jeffrey Sadow
The breathless reporting occurring over Louisiana’s fiscal year 2017 budget seemed to lose sight of what Gov. John Bel Edwards Administration functionaries alleged as a $600 million deficit compared to a standstill FY 2016 budget that went to zero with only one main area of contention.

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The "hot button" issue of the competing rights for gays, transgenders, religious libertis, states rights and others moved up a notch on Friday when the Obama administration issued what its opponents call an overreaching directive involving transgenders use of bathrooms in public schools and universities.

The controversy has taken a local turn as the State Attorney General Jeff Landry annd others have opined against the Obama administration and a resolution is beinng debated in the Louisiana Senate. 

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Should Louisiana hold a special session this June after the regular legislative session or should it wait until the latter part of the summer?  Will we cut only or raise taxes?  Which is more important to the state--TOPS or healthcare?  TOPS or higher education?  Which is more important to the voters?

These issues are just some of the issues Southern Media and Opinion Research pollster, Bernie Pinsonat and I discussed earlier this week, as we conducted an online video interview, to discuss various issues, such as the presidential elections and the Louisiana legislative session.

Currently, the issue of healthcare vs. higher education, TOPS vs. healthcare is fronnt and center given the fact that Louisiana is in a $600 million dollar hole, still after raising taxes during the past two legislative sessions.

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While unusual, the move to separate out appropriations for a constitutional office as done earlier this week in Louisiana’s House Appropriations Committee is not, as defenders of Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards allege, unconstitutional, or even uncouth.

At the request of Republican Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry, the GOP-controlled committee removed references to the Department of Justice in the general appropriations bill HB 1 and instead tucked these into a separate HB 105. Further, the separate bill contained instructions giving Landry the authority to make cuts in any fashion within the department should revenue shortfalls occur during the fiscal year. In response, Democrats on the committee as well as Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne opined that they thought handling appropriations in this fashion did not comply with the Constitution.

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As the Louisiana legislative session walks on its last leg, with lawmakers try to mend a $600 million dollar hole, after raising roughly $2 billion dollars this past year in business and and sales taxes, the question resonating at the Baton Rouge capitol is, what's going on?  What can we expect?  Are we looking at a special session this June?  Can the legislature actually fill the gap by only cutting or will taxes be raised again?

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This article is about the major Louisiana budget deficit and the “New Age” way to solve it.

You will understand better as you read more below.
One of the big Louisiana legislative days of reckoning comes Monday as the focus on next year’s budget takes center stage and the future options of the legislature undergo greater scrutiny.  

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by Jim Brown

There is a proposed new law that is roaring through the Louisiana legislature.  Any physical attack on a law enforcement officer, firefighter or emergency services personnel will now be considered a hate crime.

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Louisiana higher education will hit bottom as legislature says bye to TOPS 

The Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) is wildly popular and successful in Louisiana. Since 1989, TOPS has helped over 500,000 students pursue a higher education degree in Louisiana, which would not have been possible for many of them without this program.

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