Well it’s over and it all worked out as I had expected. We passed enough taxes and made enough short term cuts to get us through this fiscal year. For the next fiscal year we made a strong start, reducing a $2.2 billion projected shortfall to about $500 million. Of course a couple of things have to fall into place but they are expected to.
Now, as I have postulated, under the pressure of having to face another special revenue raising session, we will be forced to make a serious start at long term spending reform.This time circumstances are different; for a change we have a reasonable expectation of some success.
Had we passed all the taxes that the Governor had demanded we would never have had the opportunity to do what must be done. It is a well known fact of life that when the Governor and the legislature have plenty of funds they will spend them in poorly thought out ways, in ways that saddle the future with evermore problems.
Now we have the opportunity of many lifetimes. We are entering a new session with a legislature that absolutely believes that it can make a difference and that, if necessary, it will drag the Governor along with it. This is heady stuff; new and untested waters!
The new session that starts Monday will present plenty of opportunities to make long term structural spending corrections that will free up untold millions for true state priorities. In one instance alone I have identified a hangover from the days of free spending petro dollars that, by itself, will save $136 million a year. In good times my peers would have never given such an idea a second thought, but in this new session I have a better than average chance to pass this reform. This is but one example of many areas that are now candidates for realistic reform; reform that if successful will lead to better government for all.
Perhaps I am being over naive’, but I sincerely believe that we can and we will be able to make Louisiana’s state government both effective and efficient! This is what I ran for office for, this is what makes my job worthwhile!