Yes, I’m being sarcastic. Unfortunately, a member of the legislature actually thinks we need yet another dedicated fund. Going through the 1,000+ bills that have been prefiled for the upcoming session, The Hayride found this.
HB 768 by State Rep. Jay Morris would dedicate 1% of the sales and use tax to education. Here’s the official digest of the 45 page bill.
One the surface, it appears to be a good idea. After all, the Louisiana legislature should prioritize education over things such as the Purple Circle Social Club.
But there’s a problem with the bill, which is it makes Louisiana’s budget problems worse in the long run. The problem with Louisiana’s budget is that there are too many dedicated funds. If anything, we need to eliminate some, if not all of them, and make the legislature set priorities.
Here’s another thing with this new fund, it’s actually little more than a feel good measure. The fund is a statutory dedication, not a constitutional dedication. There’s nothing in this legislation to prevent the governor and legislature from raiding it.
If Morris was serious about protecting education spending, he would file this as a Constitutional amendment and put this to a vote of the people of Louisiana. Of course, it would likely pass the election, but it would have a tough time getting the votes needed to put it on the ballot.
Louisiana does not need a dedicated source of education funding. This state also does not need to raise taxes. What our governor and legislators need to do is learn to set priorities.
The state is set to take in about $24 billion in revenue. That’s more than enough to take care of all of the state’s needs. The problem has been the failure to set priorities. This bill will just make that problem worse.