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