The state of Louisiana is facing a deficit this year of approximately $1 billion. It is clear that our legislative leaders will need to take some tough actions to address this huge shortfall in revenue.
Personally I don’t believe that either the Legislature or most state elected officials understand that the majority of the people of our state are willing to do with less government; and thus, less government intrusion in our lives. However, to simply make a statement that we want the legislature to cut spending and eliminate programs is somewhat hypocritical, if we, the citizens of our state, don’t offer specific cuts in spending and the elimination of programs.
Following are a few ideas that we need to promote to our elected representatives to reduce the deficit without requiring tax increases…
- Institute a “forensic audit” similar to that which was completed in the State of Kansas. This comprehensive audit has reportedly resulted in savings of $1 billion for the taxpayers of Kansas. This action will also reduce the cynicism that our people have toward our state government spending.
- Merge LSU-Shreveport & Southern University at Shreveport with a similar merger between UNO & the Southern campus in New Orleans. This would save a considerable sum on administration employees and duplication of classes.
- Reduce the number of state employees by 10,000 over the next three-year period. The Governor would have discretion to mandate departments to a certain percentage of employees and oversee the cuts to ensure that state prisons are allowed to hire sufficient numbers of guards, etc.
- Eliminate the state EITC—Earned Income Tax Credit. In 2008 the our state was the first state to introduce an earned income tax credit. This is a new project which is nothing more than a $168.00 per year subsidy. This proposal will have no effect on the Federal EITC which distributes around $1.2 billion annually to Louisiana workers. The state would save approximately $40 million per year. Our state is not in a position to subsidize salaries.
- Phase out spending on non-governmental organizations over a two-year period.
Please feel free to contact us with any ideas that you may have regarding cuts in state government spending.
Anthony Emmons is a member of the Louisiana Republican State Central Committee. Contact him at [email protected].