Thursday, 10 March 2016 00:21

Louisiana House GOP says solved budget, but conservative group threatens legislators

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louisiana legislatureThe Louisiana House Republican leadership states in a statement that it helped formulated a plan to solve the current year budget while a Koch-based conservative organization expressed its anger at members who voted for taxes.  However, at this point, the State still has a budget deficit for next year of roughly $800 million.

Here is the statement from the Republican House:

Louisiana House Adjourns Sine Die, Solves Mid-­Year $1 Billion Deficit

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives adjourned from the 2016 Special Session Sine Die after formulating a balanced plan to solve the state's $1 billion dollar mid­year deficit.

The House Republican Delegation worked to solve this budget deficit with a mixture of cuts, revenue, and some short­term budget solutions. This mixture was created to be a bridge to permanent reform.

The cuts to this fiscal year's budget touched many different aspects of the state's budget, including the legislative branch, statutory dedications, and multiple state departments. The House Republican Delegation also began the process of eliminating contracts. This process will continue in the 2016 Regular Session.

The revenue measures passed by the House will help protect middle­class families and small businesses. These measures were meant to be broad so they could be spread as thinly as possible in order to protect the electorate from large increases. The House Republican Delegation led the effort to have the major business groups come to the table to discuss these revenue measures. These groups have worked with us to create temporary business revenue measures in order to fill these budget gaps.

"The House Republican Delegation was able to bring all groups to the table in order to solve this budget deficit," State Representative Lance Harris (R­Alexandria) stated. "We have solved this problem and have helped mitigate most of the $2 billion deficit for next year, while saving our higher education and healthcare institutions."

State Rep. Cameron Henry, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, oversaw the budget process in the House of Representatives.

“In the upcoming session, the members of the House Republican Delegation will be working to enact permanent reforms which will structurally change how government operates — including a lower, flatter tax rate, a more transparent government, and a more sustainable approach to government pensions,” Henry said. “These proposals will help put Louisiana on a strong path toward long­term financial solvency, while making our government more citizen­driven.”

The Governor has agreed to work with the House Republican Delegation on these issues.

“The House Republicans remain convinced Louisiana can emerge from this special session with unprecedented reform including budget and tax restructuring, pension reform, transparency enhancement measures, and others,” Harris said. “We will also continue our work to cancel government contracts which will save the state money. We have challenged the Governor and all members of the Legislature to remain committed to these reforms in the 2016 Regular Session.”

Here is the statement from the conservative group, Americans for Prosperity:

Americans for Prosperity - Louisiana state director John Kay released the following statement regarding the Louisiana state legislature’s decision to increase the state sales tax by 25%:
“We are deeply disappointed in the Louisiana House of Representatives' decision to raise the state sales tax by 25% for even longer than they originally approved. It is a shame that our elected officials were so short sighted in their approach to addressing Louisiana’s budget crisis. Raising the state sales tax is only a short-term fix to a long-term problem. The only sustainable solution to our state’s financial mess is real budget reform. A penny may not seem like much to a politician in Baton Rouge, but these costs add up for low-income families over time. In spite of this decision, AFP – Louisiana and our activists will remain committed to standing up for taxpayers in Louisiana. We will continue to hold legislators accountable when they make decisions that adversely impact our state's economy, starting tonight with this vote.”


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