Editor’s Note: A guest post from state Rep. Mike Johnson (R-Bossier City)
Last night, the Louisiana House of Representatives passed Governor Edward’s budget by a vote of 63 to 38. I voted AGAINST the budget because I do not believe it reflects the priorities and values of the people of my district and this great state.
Among our serious concerns is the fact that the budget cut TOPS by 47%, and leaves our public/private partnership hospitals and our critical medical school (LSU Health Shreveport) in jeopardy by being grossly underfunded.
What’s worse: The newly approved budget for Fiscal Year 2016-17 is more than $2 billion LARGER than the current year’s budget, due to the explosive growth of government programs and entitlements under the Edwards administration. (Approximately $900 million is an increase in State General Fund spending.) Of course, all of this is being pushed while the chief economist of the Legislative Fiscal Office has repeatedly declared that Louisiana is “in an oil-based recession.”
Common sense tells us that raising additional taxes in a shrinking economy is a counterproductive and dangerous idea—especially since we ALREADY have the highest sales taxes in the nation now, and rank 18th highest in per capita spending.
Tonight the Legislature will convene for yet another special session in which the governor aims to raise an additional $600 million in new revenue. **The people of this state have had ENOUGH!** Our families and small businesses simply cannot afford further increases in our taxes! For the same reasons that I voted against the avalanche of new taxes in the first special session earlier this year, I will do so again.
WE MUST RETURN TO FISCAL SANITY IN THIS STATE! The only way to do that is to reduce the size and scope of government, and to demand that it run more efficiently and effectively.
Back in February, I wrote about the three central questions we should be asking ourselves before making budget decisions. I stand by my previous analysis.