ROBICHEAUX: Budget Caps And Louisiana’s Filthy Budget Shenanigans

Louisiana’s Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards, and his flunky RINO Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, are using every subversive measure they can think of to get their way when it comes to affecting the state’s budget by busting the spending cap. And they are doing so with the help of Edwards’ organ-grinder monkey RINO Senate President Page Cortez strong-arming his colleagues.

There are enough House members, and not quite enough Senators, to block efforts by Senator Cortez and the Governor to raise the state’s constitutional expenditure limit. This law, combined with the balanced budget amendment, works to rein in overzealous government spending limiting the growth of government over time. However, until recently, the limit has been rather ineffective. But with state revenues at an all-time high despite Louisiana’s poor private-sector economy, the limit has finally been reached for the current year and is expected to be hit in the next fiscal year. With the economy expected to slow down even more, along with state revenues, now is not the time to bust spending caps and spend all the revenue that is available right now.

The prudent thing to do would be to save for a rainy day (which, by the way, has the added effect of triggering modest tax relief), pay down some of the onerous state retirement debt that costs taxpayers more than $1 billion a year in payments, and sock some money away for those badly needed transportation and infrastructure projects. Another priority of legislators is to give teachers (who are actually local employees) a state-funded pay raise. All of this can be done while staying under the spending cap.

Edwards and Cortez are screeching that we must spend those dollars right now on their priority projects.

But if you talk to business and industry folks, there just isn’t the capacity to complete these projects right now. With all the federal COVID related spending packages coming out of D.C., the state has been awash with project money. $1 billion in extra formula dollars to the Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), $3 billion in state COVID relief, nearly half of which was spent on projects, and it was announced today that nearly $1 billion more is coming to the state for rural and underserved communities to build broadband infrastructure. DOTD and other agencies do not have the capacity to manage all these projects at once, and the state doesn’t have the employment base to actually build these projects.

So why do we need to add another $1 billion plus in extra state dollars on top of that? We don’t.


The prudent thing to do would be to place it in a fund for when extra federal matching dollars are needed, or to do all the projects that still need completion in later years when regular revenues are lower, costs are down, and the state has the capacity to complete them.

The House passed a budget package a few weeks ago that does all these things. And now that it is clear the House has no intention of voting to raise the cap, Edwards and Cortez are contriving to block all of the plans by using procedural measures and claiming that what the House has crafted exceeds the spending cap on items that were clearly understood in the past to not count against the cap. Namely, extra payments to the principal of state debt and placing money in funds for use in later years.

We all know why both individuals are doing this. They want to spend the money now, while they are still in office and can put their names on it, because come January 2024, they will both go back to being regular citizens thanks to term limits and won’t have any say in how these funds are spent in the future.

If you want the government to rein in spending and give tax relief by standing up to the administration and legislative leadership, contact your state Senator or Representative and tell them to vote NO on busting the spending cap.



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