Editor’s Note: A guest post from state Rep. Blake Miguez (R-Erath)…
As a business executive and the manager of my household finances, I’ve learned the basic financial principle that you can’t spend more money than you take in without going broke. Louisiana has a spending problem and should follow that same basic principle. To do otherwise would be as successful as free falling without a parachute while knitting a kite in hopes of defying gravity.
It is no secret that state spending projections are outpacing revenue projections. In fact, expenditures are outpacing the national GDP by a rate of 2.5:1. This will lead to a continuing budget shortfall year after year, regardless if you support a tax or cut approach to balancing the budget. Government should never be allowed to grow at a rate faster than the private sector. This is why the conversation in Baton Rouge should be focused on spending reform and not on how much to raise taxes on hardworking families and businesses in my district. Many of whom have faced tough economic times since the slowdown of the oil and gas industry.
In the midst of a budget crisis, Louisiana’s FY 17 total budget has grown by 3.67 billion dollars over last year’s FY 16 total budget. In state effort alone it has grown by nearly 900 million. Under the administration’s new “cut” plan in the FY 18 Executive Budget which is described as 2% across the board for most agencies, the budget will again grow by 2.28 billion(184 million state effort) over the current FY17 budget. But how can that be when we are told that state government has been cut millions of dollars since the new administration has taken office. It comes down to what is the definition of a “cut.” In business and my household, a “cut” means we had less money to spend this year than we had last year. In state government, it means something very different and this is why Louisiana has found itself in financial peril.
The first step in a solution to this problem is a standstill budget which is necessary to get Louisiana back on a path to financial stability. A standstill budget based on the post midyear budget over the next two years would cut the projected fiscal cliff by more than half. This means giving state government the same amount of money that it received last year, not a dollar more! Any plan that is adopted by the Legislature to resolve the State’s on going budget problems must start here and not with increasing taxes.