state budget

 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.


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.”

“Prices at the pump don’t seem to have a bottom yet.” Legislative Fiscal Analyst Greg Albrecht says while that’s good for consumers, it’s very bad for the state budget.

Louisiana’s budget gap for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2015 has widened by $400-million due to declining oil royalties and severance taxes — directly attributable to the fall in oil prices.


 $1,600,000,000.

“We need to appreciate what we’re saying when we say those words,” LSU economist Jim Richardson admonishes, as Louisiana is standing on the edge of a fiscal cliff.

“We simply do not have enough,” Richardson states.


It has not been a terrific few weeks for state finances.

Oil revenues dropped. And then a $180 million hole appeared in the state budget.

Melinda Deslatte, AP reporter on the state budget beat, explains how Gov. Bobby Jindal plans to close the gap.


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.

The Revenue Estimating Conference, the state’s official income predictors, met Monday afternoon to adopt new revenue projections for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1.

LSU economist Dr. Jim Richardson had immediate concerns about the Jindal administration’s numbers, which included $54-million extra in anticipated tax collections.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

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.

It’s budget day for the full House, and lawmakers are not looking forward to grappling with the $26-billion spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July first.

“I don’t see any scenario where I can vote for the budget,” Representative Ted James (D-Baton Rouge) says of the plan.

Pages