By: Gov. John Bel Edwards
Louisiana is well positioned to enter an era of prosperity the likes of which we have not seen in decades, but we cannot pretend there isn’t a very real threat to the significant progress we’ve made. Louisiana is facing a nearly $1 billion fiscal cliff, which if not addressed by July 1, will force catastrophic cuts to critically important state programs and services that Louisianans rely on.
The fiscal cliff is a problem that has been festering since the Legislature approved temporary revenue measures 27 months ago instead of permanent measures that would have historically reformed our tax code. While lawmakers committed in 2016 to return to Baton Rouge to implement comprehensive reforms, over the course of six legislative sessions the only things they have approved are temporary revenues that will soon expire. Without action from the Legislature, many of the most important services you rely on that are funded by state government will have to be cut. That’s not a scare tactic. That’s basic math.
This week, I will meet my constitutional obligation to present a balanced budget, one that will show more than $1 billion in state general fund cuts on top of the nearly $600 million in such cuts I have made since becoming governor. Factoring in federal matching funds, the cuts will exceed $2.8 billion.