After a decade of budgetary crises and shortfalls at the State Capitol, and two years of even more intense discussion of reform of the state's tax system, the Republican leadership of the state House of Representatives can't come up with a dime of specific budget cuts they will support, and they've failed to agree with any of Gov. John Bel Edwards' proposed revenue replacements.
What a waste of time.
The House leaders have dawdled as temporary budget-balancing taxes passed in 2016 are set to expire, leaving state government in a world of hurt financially by July 1.
Instead of specifics, matching the governor's proposals in scope if not in detail, the GOP leadership's letter to the governor offered various process-oriented ideas, not all of which are bad.
But none of them give an honest and direct answer to the prevailing question: How will you fund government? Not in the long future, but today?
JANUARY 31, 2018
The state’s current budget situation—as much as a $1 billion revenue shortfall come July 1—is troubling, not in the least because lawmakers have known it was coming for two years but didn’t take any meaningful steps to avert it through fiscal reform.
Equally troubling, however, is the disinformation campaign being waged by critics of Gov. John Bel Edwards—namely Republicans determined to thwart a Democrat at all costs—who are peddling the fiction that hundreds of millions of dollars in wasteful spending could be cut from the budget to help mitigate the crisis if only the governor would exercise some fiscal restraint.
It’s a problem of spending, not revenue, they keep saying. In an era where Fox & Friends passes as a trusted source of daily news by an alarming percentage of the so-called educated public, it’s really not surprising that mantra would stick.
The problem is it’s not true.
What is true is the hyper-partisan political culture that has come to define the way business is done in Washington now poisons Louisiana’s swampy backwaters, rendering it impossible to forge any sort of a compromise at a time when compromises are badly needed.