‘Dire Consequences’ If Louisiana Balances Its Budget, Senate Panel Told

WWL had this report last night after the Senate Finance Committee hearing yesterday – at which the cuts made by Louisiana’s House of Representatives in order to balance the state’s budget and stop using one-time money for recurring expenses, or at least make a stab at doing so, were considered as “cataclysmic” and “dire.”

If you can’t see the direction this is moving in, you’re blind. Two things are at work…

First, any time the budget is cut, regardless what level of government is cutting, Grim Reapers come out of the woodwork. And you’ll notice it’s always about closing the doors somewhere and firing people – it’s never about cutting the fat and seeking efficiency.

Bruce Greenstein says he has to close a hospital. Bill Jenkins says he won’t be able to find any professors to staff his classrooms.

Except none of the cuts discussed in the House talked about closing hospitals and scraping off faculty. Like Rep. John Schroder said Thursday, is it really necessary for the University of Louisiana system to have increased the number of six-figure salaries 25 percent in the last five years?

The second thing at work here is a repeat of history. It’s quite obvious what’s coming – namely, that the Senate will put back the cuts the House knocked out, and with 12 days left in the legislative session they’ll present the House with the same budget which was beaten back on the House floor. And the House will be forced to vote on it at the last minute, with little choice but to either kick the can down the road or put the budget into chaos – and likely force a special session on the budget nobody wants.

All because most of the state’s leadership would prefer to essentially run a budget deficit than control the size of government at a level the state’s revenues can support. Which is proof that while Louisiana’s voters are embracing conservatism, it’s becoming clear that choice has yet to filter through to our political class.

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