by Stephen Waguespack, President and CEO of Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI)
Not sure if you have noticed or not, but there is something called the fiscal cliff looming in Louisiana. If you haven’t heard of it yet, sit tight, because you will hear a whole lot about it over the next few months.
The 2018 crisis will be filled with plenty of drama, finger pointing and inflammatory rhetoric. Every (former, current and future) politician will say it is the other (former, current and future) politician’s fault for the deficits and lack of agreement on the appropriate mixture of taxes and cuts to fill it.
ouisiana has one of the worst insurance regulatory environments in the nation. That is according to Washington-based conservative think tank R Street Institute in its 2017 Insurance Regulation Report Card just issued. And no, it’s not because of the trial lawyers or the big insurance companies. The blame is laid directly on the Louisiana legislature. In ranking states across the country, Louisiana was given an F.
Jim Brown, former State Senator, Louisiana Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner, knows a little bit about the term, “scrub the budget”. That was the term famously used by former Governor Buddy Roemer, who came from election nowhere in the final weeks of the gubernatorial campaign, to beat then-incumbent Edwin Edwards, Billy Tauzin, Bob Livingston and Speedy Long in 1987.
The "Fiscal Cliff" is upon us and is making news throughout the state as once again, Louisiana is looking at a roughly one billion dollar hole, if not much more.
How will the state solve the fiscal problem remains to be seen. Below are two perspectives, one from the conservative organization, Pelican Post and the second from Louisiana Budget Project.
Today, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards released his $25.3 billion “doomsday” Louisiana operating budget outlining the worse case scenario for the upcoming budget year. The budget would devastate health services and sharply cut into the TOPS program. After the budget was released, the Democrats released a statement concerned about what they call $2.4 billion dollars in cuts.
Edwards wants the Republican-controlled legislature to pass a replacement tax package.
The sky is falling, the sky is falling. At least the Louisiana fiscal sky is in a tailspin, or so says Governor John Bel Edwards and a number of legislative leaders. The hue and cry is for one billion dollars in new taxes along with significant fee increases. Even the local papers are chiming in with headlines like “The fiscal threat is real to colleges” and about to “get real.” What a poor taxpayer to think?
The war of words over how to deal with a budget deficit or otherwise in Louisiana annual parlance, the fiscal cliff, is mounting as the temporary sales tax comes to an end this week. The sales tax brings roughly one billion dollars into the state coffers.
Today, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has taken to the press pulpit to argue that Republican moderates want a plan presented by their members but the fiscal conservatives refuse to present one, thus, a budgetary showdown that will result in major reductions in government spending.
Hold on to your hernia belts, a potential court decision either could make Louisiana state budgeting more intractable or become a catalyst for badly needed change.
While he didn’t exactly treat Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards as if Louisiana’s chief executive didn’t exist, Republican House Speaker Taylor Barras did make clear who called the shots over the state’s fiscal year 2019 picture and beyond.
Hours after the United States President Donald Trump and the Republican Congress celebrated a humongous legislative victory with passing its tax reform package in record time without any Democratic support, back home in Louisiana, there's a different tune being sung.
First, up in DC: The US tax reform plan passed without any hearings and sworn testimony. Very few, if anyone in Congress read the legislation since none of them even saw it until an hour or so before the vote. That legislation, which passed and signed into law today, put the finishing touches upon the Trump-led US Congressional congressional agenda in which all respect for the ordinary congressional process was ignored. Earlier this year, Republicans unsuccessfully yet similarly attempted to repeal Obamacare without any hearings, or participation by the minority Democrats and yes, without legislation being available for lawmakers to debate.
On Monday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards spoke in general terms about his plans for the upcoming fiscal cliff which is anticipated to be around $1 billion for the year beginning July 1, 2018. At a luncheon today Edwards delivered remarks at an event hosted by Committee of 100, Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL), Public Affairs Research Council (PAR) and the Louisiana Budget Project.
Though the conversation depicted in this cartoon likely didn’t go down exactly this way, it is, nonetheless, typical of the mindset of not only Republicans, but Democrats as well. The merits of a given piece of legislation are immaterial; if it’s being proposed by the opposition party, we’re against it.
Today, Lousiana House GOP members of the Joint Budget Committee stopped the State’s Medicaid contracts with a vote of 17 against, 7 for.
Shortly after, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued the following statement on today’s Joint Budget Committee vote:
Edwards calls GOP ‘obstructionists’
Gov. John Bel Edwards did not mince words over the actions of some GOP House members who are members of the Joint Budget Committee.
The Committee last week blocked lucrative contract extensions sought by Edwards for the managed-care companies that coordinate services for 1.5 million Medicaid patients in Louisiana.