On Monday, the Louisiana legislature convenes at the state Capitol for another special fiscal session to make an attempt to fix, what we might call, the always-existing revenue hole fiscal cliff.
(First published on the Louisiana Voice)
Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Louisiana Legislature could probably learn a thing or two about building budgetary surpluses from the St. Landry Parish Fire Protection District No. 2—except at least one St. Landry Parish citizens thinks the surplus may be the result of smoke and mirrors and a little voodoo tax millage assessment.
That Gov. John Bel Edwards endorsed sham “tax reform” in his
recent special session call becomes all the more apparent when another example surfaced of Louisiana’s subpar fiscal policy.
In the days prior to the session’s launch next week, the state announced Gameloft would close its New Orleans office, reneging on a deal to bring more jobs to the state. This meant it gave away nearly a million dollars over the past seven years to the gaming firm under the Digital Interactive Media and Software Tax Credit, or almost $25,000 per job created. The total amount actually comes close to $2 million, but the state plans on clawing back over half.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards will call another special session for the Louisiana legislature, something he said he was not going to do unless there was an agreement between the Republican and Democratic parties.
They haven’t. Nonetheless, Edwards is left with little other choice. If they were to wait until after the regular session is complete, in the beginning of June, there would not be sufficient time for parents to plan for tuition, for schools to plan schedules and for hospitals to plan their respective budget which starts weeks later.
Yesterday, state District Judge Don Johnson issued a ruling declaring a case of a fund sweep unconstitutional. In this instance, the Legislature lifted from Public Service Commission revenues collected by fees on regulated carriers, appropriating some of that amount to pay for other operations of government.
Today, coalition members from local chambers of commerce, civic organizations and business associations across the state came together to announce a campaign to open the books on government spending in Louisiana.
The question is—who’s going to take the first step and blink as the music is quickly getting ready to start?
The mantra of fiscal cliff still fills the air as it has now winter after winter, year after year.