Rationalization does not solve problems Tuesday, Aug 18 2015
Don’t fall for political rhetoric.
After Friday’s Revenue Estimating Conference meeting, Senate President John Alario tried to put a happy face on the bad news about the price of a barrel of oil dropping precipitously below where it was previously estimated. If it hold true, estimated state revenues may have to be reduced by as much as $240 Million.
Alario said: Lower oil prices the state’s mineral revenues, but they also could lead to a savings for consumers at the gas pump that could translate into higher retail sales. The Advocate, August 14, 2015.
However, Alario fails to take into consideration the thousands of layoffs in the “Oil Patch.” Workers forced to live on unemployment checks, will unlikely to increase retail sales. As such the REC failed to take into consideration of the low oil prices.
Fannin weighs in
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Fannin also tried put a happy face on the cuts to Higher Education.
The cuts could be restored if the economy improves and leads to an increase in collections of income, sales and other taxes. At the very least, Friday’s move gives the government agencies a longer time to address the shortfall, Fannin said. Ibid.
If that is the case, why did he agree to delay addressing the impact of the drop in the price of oil?
Then there is this statement by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Jack Donahue:
[U]se of the piecemeal financing from a tax amnesty program, state surplus and agency reserve accounts helps keep the state from having to make deep cuts to public health care services and colleges. “I think using one-time money under those circumstances is the right way to go,” Ibid.
If there was anyone thing that caused the current fiscal crisis in Louisiana it was the use of one-time funds to pay recurring expenses.
The above three leges are the most responsible for the state’s current fiscal mess. In all likelihood, all three will be reelected this fall and returned to positions of leaderships on fiscal matters.
It’s clear none of them have learned from their mistakes of the last 7 plus years.
When you vote on these and other leges this fall remember what Albert Einstein said: “Significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”
When your leges ask for your vote, ask the incumbents as well as the challengers and candidates for open seats, what they will do differently. Don’t settle for platitudes; ask for specific solutions. At least it may cause them to think rather than rationalize.
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