Editor’s Note: A guest post by State Rep. Reid Falconer (R-Mandeville).
Friends, Colleagues, Fellow Louisianians, I have finished my coffee and read the paper and have pondered yesterday’s events, reaching an inevitable conclusion: our State budget process is irrevocably broken and a new constitutional framework governing how we spend the taxpayers’ money is in order.
The process in place works like this: the Governor develops his/her budget based on the previous year’s numbers and a request of each Department of, at root, “What do you need?” We (The House If Representatives, where by law the budget must originate) receive the Executive Budget in January for the start of Session in March or April.
So we are tasked with scouring the document to find efficiencies and/or inaccuracies.
The Appropriations Committee holds seemingly endless hearings with all State departments and takes public testimony that can all be summarized by the famous quote (with slight alteration)“don’t cut me, don’t cut thee, cut the man behind the tree.”
Somewhere along the way the Revenue Estimating Conference gives us an estimate of the next year revenue, which is usually more than a little inaccurate, and off we go.
The House passes a budget and sends it to the Senate, where the process is repeated.
Nowhere in this process are the bureaucrats in Baton Rouge incentivized to offer any meaningful cuts. And the Legislators, as part-time solons, are charged with finding all of the hiding places.
The Administration is forced to resort to unseemly practices, selling State assets and depleting State reserves in the previous years, threatening our most vulnerable fellow citizens today, in order to feed this insatiable monster that is the $32 Billion State fisc.
There is a solution available to us: we must hit “control, alternate, delete” on this system. Please support the idea of a Constitutional Convention. Make it a part of the election year narrative next year.
Remember that Fortune favors the Bold.