Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 10:09 am
Finding the way down off the fiscal cliff could be as simple as turning around, and looking back at the path that brought us here.
“The root of our current budget problems goes back to the decision in 2008, under Gov. Jindal, to repeal the Stelly tax changes that voters passed in 2002,” says Louisiana Budget Project director Jan Moller. “That has taken about six to seven hundred million dollars our of our tax base every year.”
A panel that oversees Louisiana’s income projections will meet Friday to look over revised revenue estimates for the current year.
Some members of the Revenue Estimating Conference expect to see a lower revenue projection than the one used to craft the state budget last spring.
Barry Erwin, president of the Council for a Better Louisiana, will speak about the state budget today in Bossier City. His nonprofit specializes in statewide public policy issues. Erwin says Louisiana is experiencing flat growth, which doesn’t square with all of the economic development activity.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration outlined plans to shrink spending across state government by $74 million dollars in the upcoming budget year that begins July 1.
Ideas include: Thinner asphalt for some paving projects, fewer toll-free numbers across state agencies, allowing pregnant women on Medicaid to use midwives instead of traditional, more expensive delivery rooms, and expanded rehabilitation programs for inmates.
If there was a theme to “Budget Day” in the Louisiana House, it could be summed up by Thursday’s oft-heard refrain, “If we don’t do it, the Senate’s going to do it.”
There wasn’t a lot House members could do to alter the allocations, until they got to the Department of Education section. Because House Appropriations had forwarded the budget bill, HB 1, to the full House before the Senate Education Committee rejected the MFP, House members now had $70-million to play with.
As the sixth week of the twelve week session begins, the budget takes center stage on Monday and Tuesday.
“Our public comment days are April the 14th and April the 15th,” explains House Appropriations chairman Jim Fannin. And he says they will work into the evening both days, to ensure everyone can be heard.