Friday, 01 April 2016 15:59

Edwards not interested in revenue neutral proposals, but wants more $ for ports, roads & bridges

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At a luncheon in front of Jefferson and Orleans Parish West Bank officials today, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards stated emphatically, that he is not interested in revenue neutral proposals, that despite a major budget hole, he was committed to funding ports and roads and bridges—projects that are very important to many in the audience.

Regarding revenues, Edwards said, “But I will tell you riRght now, I'm not interested in revenue neutral proposals. We don't have the revenues necessary to fund essential priorities. But we can make positive change and we can do things that make sense and will better serve the people of Louisiana. 
The “revenue-neutral” comment appears to be a warning to lawmakers that anyway one cuts the budget, which is roughly 800 million dollars out of balance, revenues as in taxes will be needed that are not offset by tax credits or other devices.
Last year, by comparison, under Governor Bobby Jindal, the legislature raised revenues but then offset those revenues by creating an phony tax credits to help fund higher education.  The legislation, The SAVE ACT, advocated by and signed into law by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has been repealed.  The legislation was intended to help Jindal maintain his so-called no-tax increase purity, the former governor felt he needed to compete in the Republican Primary.  
Despite the Louisiana legislature passing that law, Jindal was forced to suspend his campaign for U.S. President. 

Edwards also told the business people that he was increasing the state spend for the area ports to $39 million dollars and $60 million more for state transportation.  He also said he was not going to raid the transportation trust fund to pay salaries for state police.
Here are some of the comments Edwards made during the luncheon:
“And when it comes to transportation funding I know that was a big issue with some the questions that I got I want you to know that we already begun to make changes. As difficult as the budget is this year, there's not a single dollar that I'm proposing to take out of the transportation trust fund to pay for the state police. I want all of that money to stay in the transportation trust fund. That will be $60 million more, this year alone for transportation projects. And, one of the things I want to do is the first year investment in the port priority program to $39 million a year. Again something very difficult to do, and I believe it's the right thing to do for the State of Louisiana and I will tell you and you people probably know this better than most people in the state, there is no investment at the state could make the has a bigger return than investing in our ports. And we have that and the sad fact of the matter is, were doubling our investments in getting it to $39 million a year. Our sister states with whom we are competing are way beyond that so, we’re going to have to do better than that still as we move forward.
I’m also working on transportation through the capital outlay program, so that more of our money is going to be spent on transportation infrastructure and less on pet projects around the state that don't have the statewide or even the regional impact. I think that will make a big difference, as well. I think we need to focus our attention on stretching our dollars on maintaining and improving roads and bridges in Louisiana, as well.

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