The Spending-Cap Controversy Proves How Awful Our Lege Leaders Are

Last night a couple of press releases popped out discussing the single meatiest discussion going on at the Louisiana Legislature at present; namely, whether to pass a measure waiving the state expenditure limits so that Louisiana can blow its surplus money on the public-policy equivalent of hookers and blow.

Which Page Cortez, the president of the Senate, and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, plus their flunkies in the leadership of both houses, earnestly desire to do.

First up was the Conservative Caucus…

The Louisiana Conservative Caucus organized to protect the unborn, defend our 2nd Amendment rights, and make our state fiscally responsible. To advance those principles that our constituents elected us to uphold, we support keeping the current expenditure limit.

To break the current expenditure limit and allow unfettered government spending at a time when our state is forecasting future deficits is the most fiscally irresponsible action that we could take. This would not only squander our current surplus for the sake of good campaign
soundbites but also ensure that the next Governor and legislature inherits a budget deficit like the one left behind by former Governor Jindal.

While we would all like to increase spending levels for road projects and special issues that would help us in our campaigns, the most unselfish and impactful way to honor our constituents is to spend THEIR tax dollars on paying off debt and planning for the future!

For example, we could pay off the debt of the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System (LASERS) or the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana (TRSL). Either option frees up a significant amount of money every year in addition to the tens of millions of dollars saved on annual interest payments! Furthermore, paying off the TRSL debt would also free up money for local school boards. Currently, school boards across the state are helping pay off the TRSL debt.

Once that debt is paid for, the school boards could then redirect that money to their current teachers. Considering teacher pay is really a local issue, this is the simplest way for the state to give a recurring source of revenue to every single school board without either entity needing to raise taxes.

Another option to benefit all taxpayers and help provide a source of revenue for our future deficit would be to move additional money into our Rainy Day Fund. If we were to move more money then constitutionally required, it would activate a trigger that could lower corporate and personal income tax rates by a 1/4 percent.

Again, we would all like to spend every penny we have on projects and issues leading into our campaigns. However, that is an injustice to our constituents and it is the mentality that keeps our state at the bottom of every good list. If we want to break the state’s cycle of budget deficits and tax increases, we have to invest for a better future rather than mortgage our future as we’ve always done. To build the Louisiana that our constituents voted for, we have to be fiscally responsible and say, “No” to raising the expenditure limit!

Following shortly thereafter was a press release by the Louisiana Freedom Caucus…

The Louisiana Freedom Caucus (LAFC) announced today it will join the Louisiana Conservative Caucus in voting to keep the current expenditure limit in place. Given the forecasts of future budget deficits currently projected, using surplus and excess funds for recurring expenses or pet projects is fiscally irresponsible. The LAFC believes those funds should be used to pay off existing prosperity-choking debt.

One option is to pay off the unfunded liability to the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana (TRSL) to eliminate the cost of interest taxpayers will pay on the debt, put money back into our annual budget and relieve local school boards from paying their matching funds obligation requirements. It gives every school board in Louisiana an opportunity to keep that money and use it for things like teacher pay raises and other important local needs.

Another option for full payoff is the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System (LASERS). This would free up money now being spent every year on this debt while saving Louisiana interest charges every single year, creating a recurring source of revenue which is needed for teacher pay raises and other significant yearly expenses.

“Louisiana is in the unusual position of having surplus and excess funds available after meeting the state’s current obligations. This leads to some tough choices. It would be fiscally irresponsible to burden the state with additional recurring obligations that we will be forced to meet in future years when a surplus is not available. It would be equally irresponsible to go on a spending spree, buying things that we would all like to have while looking the other way as current debt and interest continue to rob Louisiana’s future. The Louisiana Freedom Caucus supports doing the responsible thing—paying off debt—which sets Louisiana on more sound footing for the future,” said LAFC, Chairman Alan Seabaugh.

Schexnayder and Cortez are doing what they can to bully legislators into busting the caps, warning them that if they don’t do it they’re going to have all of their projects scratched this year.

Which is a fairly empty threat given that they’ll be out of the legislature thanks to term limits by January, and a brand new governor who’ll almost assuredly be nothing like John Bel Edwards will take office then. So anybody who loses a project this year because of somebody following through on this threat will get it back, in all likelihood, next year.

But what this tells you is just how poisonous to the Republican brand these unprincipled slimeballs in charge of the Legislature are.

Here’s Schexnayder’s number two man in the House, Tanner Magee.

Melinda Deslatte, who used to cover the Capitol for the AP, is a pretty committed Democrat, so it’s one thing for her to employ the tried-and-true method of attempting to trash the Freedom Caucus’ statement by questioning the size of its membership. Along comes Magee, who put an R next to his name in an effort to get elected, to do the same.

We’re pretty sure there are more members in the legislature of the Freedom Caucus than there are white Democrats, of which Deslatte would identify and so would Magee if he had the courage to advertise his political viewpoint truthfully.

Not to mention the fact that Magee probably doesn’t need to play the political relevance card given the savage beatdown his local voters gave him in his last election, when he was attempting to flee the legislature into a judgeship…


The fact is, hookers and blow is bad policy. A budget surplus in a state which is suffering terribly from new outmigration, population loss, economic stagnation and disintegrating law and order in its cities is not something sustainable; this particular surplus is due solely to a flood of federal money which cannot continue.

What Cortez, Magee, Schexnayder and the others are attempting to do is to build monuments to themselves that others who come later will have to pay for. This is not responsible governance. It’s the worst of the Louisiana political tradition, and naturally it isn’t being supported by rational arguments but instead by insults and threats.

Well, nobody should accept being threatened by the likes of Page Cortez and Clay Schexnayder. We’re so close to scrubbing both of those men from their current positions and being able to forget they were ever in charge, it’s past time we gave a damn what they say.

It requires 36 House members to stand against busting the expenditure caps. The Conservative Caucus has more than that number even if the Freedom Caucus does not.

Assuming those stand strong, not only will good policy be made and Louisiana’s fiscal situation will likely improve to a decent extent, but it’ll be a repudiation of the stupid, crooked and petty politicians currently in charge in the Capitol. And that’s a win for everyone.

Let’s hope it happens that way.



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