Sunday, June 12, 2016

We need to support practical solutions to the state budget

Lake Charles American Press editor Jim Beam has published an excellent editorial here, describing the damaging tactics of what I hope is a minority of the legislature in blocking tax revenue measures and budget reforms proposed by Governor Edwards. There is an equally good editorial here in the Lafayette Advertizer. These tactics remind me of the kind of partisan insanity practiced in recent years by U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and others in blocking even the most practical proposals by President Obama for getting our U.S. economy back on track. Surely our state legislators will not continue to use partisan tactics that end up harming all the citizens of our state just to frustrate all of the efforts of  a Governor who happens to come from a different political party!

One good test of these obstructionist legislators is a check of their voting records in relation to the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI). Generally any legislator who has an excellent voting record on the LABI rating scale, puts big business first and the citizens of Louisiana last. The huge tax breaks and outright giveaways to big business don't help save jobs as we have seen in the most recent statistics. They just send much of our hard earned tax dollars out-of-state to the billionaires of the oil and gas industry and many other businesses that would be here anyway because of Louisiana's natural resources, and hard working people. But because LABI can use some of those tax breaks to help finance numerous political campaigns, the average citizens and less fortunate families have to suffer.

I was working as a lobbyist for public education  years ago when the legislature passed the generally revenue neutral Stelly tax reform plan. The plan was a fair deal designed to take the pressure off the working poor by exempting some sales taxes for food and medicine and at the same time making up the difference by slightly enhanced income taxes. The plan was working well until a group of legislators with the help of Governor Jindal, did away with the income tax part of the compromise and ended up creating a totally unnecessary budget crisis. The other part of the crisis resulted from overly generous tax breaks for the fracking industry. Now that the oil industry has suffered a price decline for oil and gas, Louisiana is hit doubly hard. So why do we want to punish our college students and reduce medical services to the poor and handicapped just so that certain legislators can maintain their pristine voting record with LABI? This is insanity, and will not help business or the citizens of our state.

Please do your part in asking your legislators to support a fair compromise on the budget producing added revenue that will allow our state to continue providing vital services and continued support for education.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Our state's treasurer made if very clear how ridiculous the spending problem is in our state - much like the federal government. Doing away with the bulk of the 19,000 "consultants" alone could save untold dollars. And that was only one of the simple fixes recommended. The constant call for more taxes at any level until the excess wasteful spending is taken under control is mind numbing at every level of government. It's time for politician to stop the unbridled waste that goes to their pet projects and cronies. Time to stop the stupidity and do what the government is intended to do. At the state level that is, in a large way, to educate. Maybe a day will come when someone will finally challenge the unconstitutionality of the federal dept. of ed. and the federal government will leave that money where it belongs, too, instead of wielding it as a carrot to force states into doing its unbelievably (with regard to educational efficacy) unknowledgeable bidding in an attempt to create the worst education system in the free world. It seems quite knowledgeable on how to dumb down generations of citizens. I, for one, am tired of being enslaved to the notion that government must fix every ill known to man. If we could get back to real, organic education that includes personal responsibility through hard work and real history instead of the rewritten bull being shoved down the throats of students we might start creating citizens who get it for a change.