From a press release put out this morning by the Louisiana Budget Reform Campaign…
The Budget Reform Campaign will begin with an extended listening tour, organizers announced today. Group members will reach out to business, civic and political leaders across the state, to hear ideas and concerns regarding budget priorities, process and end product. The Campaign will also reach out to legislators of both parties, in both chambers.
“We are reaching out to leaders across the spectrum and across the state to listen to ideas and concerns about how the budget debate has played out the last several years” said Rep. Brett Geymann, Chair of the Budget Reform Campaign. “In particular, we will focus on examining budget priorities, the challenges of the budget process and the impact of the budget end product on our families, businesses and institutions” Geymann said. “We have already been contacted by numerous business and civic groups. We also have twenty-seven legislators who have committed to the campaign, so we have a great opportunity to make next year’s budget debate much more broad-based and transparent. This listening tour will make that reach even greater” Geymann concluded.
“We have to fix our broken budget process, because Louisiana’s future depends on it” said Representative Tony Ligi (R – Metairie), Chairman of the Louisiana House Republican Delegation and Charter Member of the Budget Reform Campaign. “A broad-based dialogue and real transparency in our budget process is the only real way to address chronic budget deficits, revenue shortfalls, mid-year cuts, fund sweeps, and the use of one-time and contingency funds” Ligi said. “This listening tour, reaching out to business, civic and political leaders is a powerful new way to establish a platform for passing real budget reform” Ligi concluded.
“A real discussion about budget priorities, process and product is best served by an open and robust dialogue among budget stakeholders” said Representative Cameron Henry (R – Jefferson), Vice-Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and a Charter Member. “We want to make sure that we get more people involved in the process, this year. That is a more resilient way of doing things with a greater likelihood of genuine success” Henry said. “We have no pride of authorship. We want the best ideas from the people who truly care about the future of Louisiana. That’s why we’re going to spend the next couple of months aggressively listening” Henry concluded.
“The $26 billion dollar state budget impacts every family and business in Louisiana” said Representative John Schroder (R – Covington). “It’s too important an issue, to have the process play out largely behind closed doors, with very few people involved. The fact is, that’s how mistakes are made, and that’s how we get into trouble” Schroder said.
“We are determined to reach beyond our group, and make the effort to listen to the concerns of the business, civic and political leadership of the state. That’s the only way to do right by the people, families and businesses of Louisiana” Schroder concluded.
The budget reform coalition has established an interactive online community at LABUDGETREFORM.COM. Anyone interested in the Campaign is invited to join the website and participate in the process. We plan to leverage the power of the internet and social media to engage a broad range of stakeholders in an open and robust dialogue about the future of Louisiana.
The group expects to make further announcements regarding its activities, membership and process in the coming weeks.