Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards released the following statement on the actions taken in the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) by Speaker Taylor Barras and Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry:

“Today's good news was ignored by one member of the REC who chose to politicize this process.  In an unprecedented political ploy, Chairman Henry objected to adopting the forecasts proposed by the economists.  Speaker Taylor Barras requested that the REC meeting be held on this date to accommodate his schedule, but instead decided to send Chairman Henry to do his work for him. Both the legislature’s economist and the state’s economist projected an improved revenue forecast for the state as a result of an improved economy.  This is not new money or asking for additional money.  Once again, the Speaker is bending to the will of a small band of obstructionists in the House who are determined to keep the status quo in our state. With near universal agreement that we should provide Louisiana teachers with a pay raise, the actions by Speaker Barras and Chairman Henry place the ability to fund that plan in jeopardy. We have these checks and balances, such as REC, in place to protect our budgeting process, which is why our state has run a surplus for the last two years.  We’ve seen these games time and again, and the people of Louisiana are tired of them.”

REC requires that the participating members vote unanimously to improve the state’s revenue forecast based off of recommendations from expert economists. Today, both economists recognized that an improved economy has led to additional revenue into the state. The speaker’s designee, the House Appropriations Chairman, was the only member of REC who voted against the state’s improved revenue forecast.

The Louisiana Legislature approved a budget in 2018 that would fund additional items if money was available. Among the items not funded as a result of today's inaction are the:

Department of Corrections - $16,290,000

Office of Juvenile Justice - $10,800,000

Office of Conservation - $570,151

LED FastStart Program - $500,000

Office of Coastal Management - $74,218

Louisiana Sheriffs - $10,506,197

Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness - $2,000,000

Secretary of State - $610,206

Office of the Attorney General - $869,649

Department of Agriculture and Forestry - $600,000