The Governor has sent out its own missive staying that the mainly Republican claim that the budget is $2 billion dollars more than last year is a myth.
The Louisiana Republican party is urging its members to ensure that revenue raising measures are not advanced in committee.
Here are the relevant bodies of the emails:
MYTH: The budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins on July 1 is $2 billion larger than last year’s budget.
FACT: Facing a budget shortfall last fiscal year, the previous administration chose to exclude large expenses from last year’s budget in an attempt to make the shortfall appear artificially smaller than it truly was. Essentially, they didn’t pay their bills and pushed the costs into this year. For example, they only paid 11 – instead of 12 – monthly medical vendor payments last year, leaving taxpayers on the hook for 13, rather than 12 payments this year. In addition, the previous administration did not properly budget for the increase in people who would use Medicaid – ignoring that increase for the first time ever since the Medicaid program began. To make matters worse, they did not account for expenses they knew would come due for the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Corrections, and the Office of Juvenile Justice last year. But more than anything, they built last year’s budget on $800 million in one-time money, even though the expenses would be recurring year after year, which led to a downgrade in our credit rating. Finally, this year’s budget appears larger because our federal tax dollars are coming home to Louisiana now that Gov. Edwards has expanded Medicaid – while also saving more than $180 million in state dollars for those expenses. The expansion will provide additional savings for the state in years to come.
BACKGROUND: Louisiana is currently facing a $600 million budget shortfall that threatens funding for TOPS, K-12 education, higher education, and life-saving health care services. Gov. John Bel Edwards has called the legislature into a second special session in an effort to reduce next year’s budget shortfall. Unfortunately, there is some misinformation circulating in the public. With that in mind, the administration will occasionally send information to the public to set the record straight.
FROM THE LAGOP
Thanks to Republican members of the House of Representatives, especially those who serve on the House Ways and Means Committee, Governor John Bel Edwards is off to a rocky start in the special session. Over the past three days, the House Ways and Means Committee has defeated several of Governor Edwards' key proposals to raise income taxes. However, Edwards and his allies in the Legislature are not giving up. We must continue the fight.
Call your legislators and urge them to VOTE NO on all tax increases during the special session and to oppose discharging any tax bill from the Ways and Means Committee, particularly HB 11.