Louisiana’s mid-year budget deficit more than doubled overnight. A bill by house representative Chris Broadwater which was supposed to generate $75 million won’t take effect in time. State lawmakers are now desperately trying to fill the gap.
“I don’t know who the Governor thinks is going to pay all these extra taxes, we’ve had 12,000 people laid off in the oil and gas industry.”- John Kennedy
According to John Kennedy the Louisiana State Treasurer the state’s spending has gone up by 40%, meanwhile the economy has only grown by 25%.
“We’re supposed to be broke. The Governor is threatening to cut UL. He’s threatening to cut the TOPs scholarship program. He’s threatening to stop LSU football. But he’s got one of his agencies out spending a million dollars to design a sculpture for the charity hospital, I mean give me a break.”
Kennedy says the state of Louisiana is number one in the south for state and local spending per capita.
He says cutting some of the unnecessary consulting contracts would sufficiently help the budget. While reading a list of contracts Kennedy says,
“We’ve got 19,000 consultants on the payroll. $36 billion.” Kennedy says, “Their job is to quote, ‘provide interior design services for the Louisiana department of revenue’. Louisiana department of revenue doesn’t need an interior designer.”
According to Kennedy, Louisiana doesn’t have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem.
“If you come to me as Louisiana State Treasurer and say Kennedy here is your choice. Cut UL to the bone, or cut out a consulting contract for $750,000 for a new sculpture for one of our charity hospitals. That’s an easy one for me.”
According to governor Edwards, $147 million in taxes or cuts is still needed to fill the midyear gap, which started at $956 million, with just five days to go in the legislative special session.