State officials have been burning up the phone lines between Baton Rouge and New York City this week, trying to stave off the threatened downgrade of Louisiana’s credit rating. State Treasurer John Kennedy says it’s been intense.
“We’re in trouble. I don’t want to overstate that, but I don’t want to sugarcoat it, either,” Kennedy says. “We’re in trouble with two of the three rating agencies. Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have told us unless we get our fiscal affairs in order, they’re going to downgrade us.”
Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 6:59 pm
Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says the mid-year budget cuts proposed last week by the Jindal administration could end up costing you more at the grocery store and elsewhere.
“You know, if we downsize in meat inspection, that means plants will close,” Strain warns. And meat prices will go up.
The Department of Agriculture has been told to cut $2.6-million from its spending between now and June 30, and Strain says that means he will have no choice but to reduce the number of inspectors his department employs.
Since it’s an election year, it’s highly unlikely that lawmakers will risk the wrath of voters or the governor by raising taxes to fill Louisiana’s $1.6-billion budget hole. But they will almost certainly be taking a hard look at state tax breaks to bridge the budget gap.
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.