Louisiana is facing the largest budget deficit in our state’s history. Poor leadership and budget tricks from the previous administration have left our state in a terrible position that threatens higher education, healthcare, and our children’s future. But, Gov. John Bel Edwards is working with Republicans and Democrats to make meaningful changes to correct the problem, stabilize the budget, and ensure a bright future for all Louisianans.
The Jindal Administration, which inherited a $1 billion surplus, created the problem with make believe efficiencies, more and more corporate tax giveaways, and privatization schemes that actually increased costs and further exacerbated the problem. When Jindal left office, the deficit was nearly $3 billion.
Unfortunately, the legislature failed to solve the budget crisis in the Special Session which ended on March 9th. Although Gov. Edwards offered a balanced approach which included strategic budget cuts and new revenue sources, a handful of House members chose to inject Washington DC style partisan politics into the process. Those House members – The Jindal Caucus – were more determined to continue the failed economic policies of Bobby Jindal than working with the Governor to put Louisiana first. As a result, the state is still facing a budget shortfall of over $60 million for the remainder of this year and approximately $800 million for next year.
Without solutions we face unimaginable and unprecedented cuts to vital services throughout the state. Hospitals will close and vital health services will cease to exist. Universities will close dashing the hopes of Louisiana students. Infrastructure needs will be ignored. Court systems will grind to a halt. As hard as it is to believe, there simply is not enough money available to pay Louisiana’s monthly bills.
Many who helped Jindal create this problem are continuing to play politics with Louisiana’s future by insisting we rely only on more cuts to already lean services. Tell the legislature to work with the Governor to find responsible solutions that combine reasonable cuts with the new revenue necessary to save higher education, critical healthcare services, and TOPS.
It is time for long-term fiscal responsibility in Louisiana. No more smoke. No more mirrors. The people of Louisiana demand that the Governor and Legislature work hand-in-hand to do what is right.
Nearly every aspect of our state has been torn down over the past eight years. Now, it’s time to Rebuild Louisiana.