I’ve been following the vague plans by the politicians, business, trade, civic, so-called “good-government” groups, etc. for state government post-Jindal Administration.
They have a lot in common. They all require more money.
Some of the common denominators are: Fully-fund higher education ($800 Million), fund Pre-K($??), fix the highways and bridges ($12 Billion), a pay raise for public school teachers ($??), fund workforce development ($??), etc.
I looked for the funding sources. They were the usual vague ideas such as “right-sizing” government, more efficient delivery of services, consolidation, avoiding duplications, an improved economy, etc.
Those are the same ideas used by the Jindal Administration to “balance the budget” each year. The net result was the passage of $800 Million in new taxes and fees during the 2015 Regular Session. Despite that huge increase there is still a revenue shortfall in the neighborhood of $1 Billion for the upcoming fiscal year.
Not mentioned problems
Not mentioned was addressing the state’s anticipated $2 Billion structural deficit by 2019. Nor were there plans to pay-off the $20 Billion Unfunded Accrued Liability (UAL) in the state’s pension plans due in 2029. Then there’s the matter of the state debt ceiling and a possible downgrade of the state’s bond rating (higher cost of borrowing) if the structural deficit is not addressed soon.
While higher taxes are the obvious answer to funding these expenditures, none of the pols or groups are directly suggesting increasing taxes. Most allude to eliminating unnecessary tax exemptions, rebates, credits, etc. The net result is the same as a tax increase.
Transparency not surprises
It’s time for the pols and others with spending plans to put their cards on the table.
The special session to take more money from the taxpayers is less than five months away. We shouldn’t be forced to wait until five days (Time for “call” to be issued.) before the special session to learn whose wallet will be flattened.
Some folks may want to rethink their future plans.