Going into his third year as the Louisiana governor, Edwards has had to deal with a budgetary process and major deficits arising from fiscal mismanagement from the Governor Bobby Jindal administration and oil price drops which has resulted in a penny sales tax increase that sunsets next summer.
Obviously, fiscal hawks want more cuts and blame the Governor and his allies for raising taxes. However, faced with the prospects of more serious hits upon the business community, last year, even the business lobby, The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI )agreed to a one-penny temporary sales tax increase while offering a two penny increase as a possible resolution. Since then, LABI and Republicans, in general, have demanded more government cuts.
As a result of the likely battle brawls and another budget special session, Edwards and key administration officials are taking its case to the state business community in a series of meetings or round-table-discussions..
Below is the press statement issued by the Governor's office, today:
Yesterday, Gov. John Bel Edwards, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne and Kimberly Lewis Robinson, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Revenue, met with business leaders and local elected officials in New Orleans to discuss ways the state and business community can partner to stabilize the state budget. This was the fourth meeting in a series that Gov. Edwards is hosting around the state of Louisiana to solicit ideas from the business community and local officials on best practices for Louisiana. The state faces a more than $1 billion fiscal cliff on July 1, 2018, when temporary taxes expire.
“Just this week, Louisiana was ranked as one of the top states in the country to do business, and we want to keep that momentum going,” said Gov. Edwards. “As we travel the state, business leaders are telling us that they want a stable, consistent tax structure that is fair and simple and a skilled workforce. Those are the priorities of this administration as well. Our economy is slowly on the rebound, but we have more work to do, and these meetings have been very candid conversations with the men and women who actually create jobs and grow our economy. We look forward to continuing these meetings throughout the state over the next several weeks.”
Tomorrow, Gov. Edwards, Commissioner Dardenne and Sec. Robinson will travel to Shreveport for a similar series of meetings. Meetings were previously held in Alexandria, Houma and Baton Rouge.
Participants in New Orleans were:
Ray Brandt Automotive
New Orleans Saints
Trandev Services Inc
Ti Adelaide Martin
Gulf Coast Bank
Link Restaurant Group
Gary Solomon Sr.
Crescent Bank and Trust
Ochsner Health System
Port of New Orleans