The non-partisan Public Affairs Research Council (PAR) releases its assessment of the 2023 state legislative session and what was accomplished. PAR Louisiana President Steven Procopio says, overall, lawmakers did a responsible job of spending and investing $2-billion in surplus revenue…:
“They spent a lot of temporary money on temporary projects that were needed. There’s spending on road and bridge work. There’s spending on the coast. They paid down a BIG chunk of retirement debt.”
Procopio says things got ugly over lifting the state’s cap on expenditures in order to apply the revenue funds. He says one of the uglier aspects of the budget dealings was a last-minute cut of about $100-million from the Department of Health. Procopio says no one understands the huge cut and it seems “odd”…:
“There was NO explanation given. That seems like a lot of money, and when you put that with the (federal) matching funds that we’re going to miss…that could be a serious problem. And that’s the type of thing that happened. I think it’s probably the worst example of moving so quickly at the end.”
Procopio says spending on early childhood education could have been more robust, and more could have been done to reduce the state’s corporate franchise taxes (seen as detrimental to attracting business). He says what was accomplished may be overshadowed by the chaotic ending of the session, and the final budget deal…:
“The legislators didn’t even know what was in the budget, much less organizations like PAR. We got a lot of information…but citizens. I don’t know how they could be possibly be expected to understand what happened. So that’s a BIG problem for transparency.”
PAR’s commentary on the session can be read online at “parlouisiana.org”.