It's the Louisiana seventeen cents penny opera.
When one really considers the current debate in the Louisiana legislature starting next week in another special session to complete the budget for next year which fiscal year starts July 1, the differences between the revenues that have been approved so far compared to those that the Governor and others want to pay for government services already appropriated, is miniscule.
As has been reported, the difference between the 33% and the 4.5% of a single penny comes down to a mere seventeen cents sales tax on a one hundred dollars of a purchase.
Would Louisiana taxpayers really be hurt if the legislature toed the line and failed to raise the sales tax of $4.33 upward to $4.50? Or, is there enough waste, fraud, and abuse in state government spending and more efficiencies to consider before raising another .17 cents or less, when the Louisiana State Legislature meets in the third fiscal session this year? The special session starts Monday June 18, the government players must talk turkey and a budget and revenues must be determined before the new fiscal year begins, July 1.
The budget is done. Tax cuts have been made. So, is there anything else to discuss when the Louisiana legislature and the Governor meet once again, beginning June 18, to put the finishing touches on the amount of spending Louisiana commits to, starting July 1 of this year?
It has been a very tough year for state government. We've experienced two special sessions debating the budget and how to pay for what might be appropriated. During the regular session, also this year, the legislature passed an appropriation bill that was vetoed by the Governor.
Only four full days, excluding today, left in the second extraordinary fiscal session of the Louisiana legislature called to fix the fiscal cliff, 2018.
Will the Louisiana legislature be able to come to an agreement prior to Monday midnight? Will a legislative agreement include more cuts to higher education, the hospitals, TOPS, the prison system and government infrastructure? If so, will the governor John Bel Edwards sign the budget into law?
Medicaid expansion as an economic development driver for the State of Louisiana?
Last week, Governor John Bel Edwards and others promoted a study from LSU that argued that the Obamacare program not only served the lower-income workers but also helped the Louisiana economy. I asked Jan Moller about this study pushed by the governor when Jim Brown and i interviewed him last week.
How dee is the real hole in the Louisiana budget are we? Does the state really willing to cut governmental services without raising revenues, which is what the Speaker of the House Taylor Barras seemed to indicate yesterday, when questioned, which could prevent another revenue-raising special session?
Louisiana has good news, kinda.
The state’s Revenue Estimating Conference met today and recognized $346 million in revenues, most primarily due to the Republican-Trump tax cut leaving a difference in the budget shortfall of $647M which is obviously much better than the $997 million hole we were looking at prior to the regular session. That’s the good news.
As is almost always the case, in the world of politics, whether it is world, national, state or local, once a failure tkes place, the blame game is soon to follow. On Monday, the Louisiana legislative session came to a screeching halt. The Governor initially blasted the House Speaker Barras Taylor, a republican. The Louisiana GOP slammed the governor. Today, Bayoubuzz's Jeff Crouere published hs analysis, citing Edwards as the culprit. Edwards's office sent out its own missive, with extracted portions of media comments in its favor. The left-leaning, Louisiana Budget project, supported Edwards, not the Republicans.
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.