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From The Publisher: March 2016

03/11/2016 08:00AM ● Published by Aimee Cormier

There’s Still No Free Lunch in Louisiana

By Art Suberbielle

For the last several months, we’ve learned the sky is falling in Louisiana. The laissez faire attitude of our past governor and his political allies has finally caught up with us. There’s no more slush funds, no more rainy day money, no shell games to play with the citizens of the state. The goose that has consistently laid the golden egg here (the petrochemical industry) is on the ropes. So we’re finally hearing the whole, cold, hard truth – we’re broke. Well, almost.

While the state political leaders argue about the exact amount, estimates range from $550 to $900 million shortfall for this fiscal year. And next year’s outlook is even bleaker. No matter how you look at it, this is not pocket change. Where can the state’s leaders find the money to cover the budget shortage?

Could we be instore for a real miracle in Louisiana – fiscal responsibility? The way these sort of problems have been handled in the past is to kick the can down the road to the next group of politicians. But now, Baton Rouge is forced to take action. It’s inevitable that the state has to cut spending and raise taxes. We can’t just cut our way out of this big of a hole. But pay attention to what’s going on in Baton Rouge. While this special session is charged with filling the budget gap by March 9th, I seriously doubt it will all get done. After all, no one wants to cut their pet projects out of money. And no elected official wants to vote for higher taxes. Heaven forbid, the voters might not re-elect them.

I, for one, believe that the citizens of Louisiana are savvy enough to recognize the problem and the steps needed to correct them. We will reward those politicians who use sound judgement to get us out of this mess. We know there’s no free lunch in Louisiana. And by the way, isn’t it ridiculous for the state to still embrace “Tax Free Weekends”?  Give me a break and do the right thing in Baton Rouge.

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