Will LSP raises exacerbate state’s fiscal woes? Friday, Jan 16 2015 

hear no evil see no evil speak no evil

Joint Lege Committee on the Budget

An editorial in a Baton Rouge newspaper today calls the source of a proposed 30% (not a misprint) raise for most members of the Louisiana State Police a “tax.”

However, the editorial writer doesn’t point out why it is a tax.  I will:

–The state constitution prohibits the lege from passing a new tax or increasing an existing tax in a Regular Session in an even-numbered year.  A “fee” can be introduced and passed in such a session. However, a “fee” can only produce enough revenues to provide a specific service for which the “fee” was passed.

–Rep. Barry Ivey authored House Bill No. 872 during the 2014 Regular Session. The bill adds a $75 fee for the reinstatement of one’s auto insurance that has lapsed.

–HB 872 will generate approximately $53 Million per year.  It dedicates $42 Million to the general operations of the Department of Public Safety; $7 Million is dedicated to housing parolees and $1 Million to District Attorneys. Only $1 Million of the fee is to be used to perform the services for which it was passed.

This is prima facie evidence that the “fee” is an unconstitutionally-passed “tax.”

Issues for Budget Committee

1. When the Joint Legislative Budget Committee considers approving the raise at today’s hearing, they should consider that the funding is only a lawsuit away from disappearing.

2.  Another issue the committee should consider is the impact the raises will have on the Unfunded Accrued Liability (UAL) in the state retirement systems.

The Lege Fiscal Office just reported that the UAL has grown during the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2014 by $1.3 BILLION!  It now stands at $20.3 BILLION.

This growth will mean a larger payment will have to be made in the upcoming budget to pay down the debt by 2029.

In light of the facts that our economy is “booming” according to our ethically-challenged, economic guru Stephen Moret and the stock market is currently higher than it was before the 2008 crash, the Budget Committee should ask why the UAL grew so much in one year.

Maybe the leges don’t want to know the facts, but the taxpayers deserve to know what faces us.

C.B.

 

Multiple reasons for state’s fiscal woes Monday, Jan 12 2015 

chickens roosting

Bobby Jindal & lege chickens have come home to roost!

In a story about House Speaker Chuck Kleckley saying that Higher Ed may be cut up to an additional $370 Million for Fiscal Year ‘16, Associated Press reporter Melinda Deslatte correctly observes :

Oil prices aren’t the sole problem, however. Jindal has repeatedly balanced the budget with dollars from property sales, legal settlements and other sources that don’t reappear each year, and lawmakers have approved the patchwork financing. This year’s budget contains $1 billion that won’t be available to spend next year, creating the largest part of the budget gap.

A recent editorial in a Baton Rouge newspaper blamed most of the state’s fiscal woes on a lege decision in 2008 to rollback the Louisiana Personal Income Tax rates to the level they were in 2002.

A forgotten problem

What’s been missing in the media reporting is another decision made by Bobby Jindal and the leges in 2008.

When Jindal and the leges took office in January of 2008, the state had a $1.1 Billion surplus leftover from former Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s Administration.

Jindal quickly pushed and two-thirds of the lege voted to increase the state’s constitutional “spending cap” by $1.1 Billion in order to spend the surplus.  The leges then promptly spent the entire surplus for FY09.

The real reason

While the current lower prices for oil are having some affect on state revenues, the primary problem is excess spending caused by spending non-recurring revenues on recurring expenses for the last 7 years.

In other words, the drastic cuts to higher education, healthcare, highway construction and other vital services are the result of fiscally-irresponsible decisions made by the Jindal Administration and approved by at least of majority of the leges; not the result of the national economy, the falling price of a barrel of oil or other excuses given by the politicians.

If you are upset about the cuts to vital state services, this Fall when your leges ask you to reelect them, ask them if they voted for state budgets containing one-time money.  Some didn’t; most did.

Kudos to Melinda for not allowing Kleckley to solely blame oil for the revenue problem.

C.B.

“King of Subversive Bloggers” – James Gill
 

IT’S OFFICIAL… Sunday, Jan 11 2015 

jindal_e_newman

 

Bobby Jindal now has less than one year left in his second and last term as governor of Louisiana.

Look on the left side of this post to see the official countdown clock.

To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill: Now this is not the end.  It is the beginning of the end.

C.B.

“King of Subversive Bloggers” – James Gill
 

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