04/11 - Budget Battle 2011

Will more one-time funds be raided or can some protected funds be unlocked?

For the third year in a row, Louisiana is facing cuts to its budget. The Governor and the Legislature must reconcile a $1.6 billion gap in revenue during the regular session that began April 25th. Will more one-time funds be raided or can some protected funds be unlocked? Should healthcare and higher education brace for more spending cuts? And are plans for raising additional revenue even part of the equation? Watch “Budget Battle 2011” on “Louisiana Public Square” airing Wednesday, April 27th at 7 p.m. on LPB HD.

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Click here to view the online survey results

Click here to view the LSU Before and After Survey Results

Our Panelists:

EXTERNAL LINKS:

Overview of Governor Jindal’s Proposed Budget

FAQ’s about the proposed state budget


An analysis of Gov. Jindal’s budget by the Louisiana Budget Project

Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System – LASER’s concerns about retirement proposal

LSU Public Policy Research Lab’s Louisiana Survey 2011

Louisiana Legislature – Track bills in both the House and Senate

LPB’s Capitol Beat – Daily Legislative wrap every weeknight


This program was also funded in part by the Louisiana Forestry Association

We want to know your opinion! Leave your comments in the box below.


I was a participant on this show and wanted to clarify something I said. I just get so frustrated, when legislators say they refuse to raise taxes, but are okay with a tuition increase. Do you think students care whether their tuition goes up because you have raised the base tuition or added taxes to tuition? No, they don’t. It’s a cost increase in the end.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that your representatives don’t want to “raise taxes” because they want to protect us. They are protecting industry. Big Tobacco doesn’t want taxes raised on cigarettes; that may cause people to quit smoking. And big business sure doesn’t want all of those tax credits and tax breaks they receive to be pulled back, that would take money away from the CEOs and stockholders. No, instead we chose to raise tuition, possibly pricing student out of an education. How is keeping people out of an education the best thing for Louisiana?

Posted by Celeste  on  04/27  at  07:09 AM

The reason I left Louisiana is due to poor or no job growth and horrible schools (not in Zachary, La. where I lived). I hate the fact that the good boy mentality put this man in office. Bobby Jindal is a joke. The people of Louisiana or should I say the Republicans of our great state, elected a medical school dropout. Under Mike Foster, he ruined DHH, but he has the nerve to be critical of Obama on healthcare. Really?  As our representative, he sat by as people died in one of the worst disasters, and played politics with their lives to get elected. He lies to get votes. He is never in the state during a crisis. Funny how the budget was balanced until his arrival.  Our charity system is in crisis, our colleges are being used as pawns, our prisons are up for sale while the crime problem is in every city in the state is out of control.  Foreclosures are on the horizon, companies and contracts are leaving the state. Why?  EDUCATION!  Louisiana will never get out the gutter.  We are high on the list for HIV, crime, and poverty. What a joke on 60 minutes.  Really? Stop having your donors give money to your wife’s charity. It’s time Mr. Jindal to moved on. He will never be president. He will never be elected to office again the near future. Your record is your record. It is one of neglect. He does not have the experience to move this state forward, so stay the hell out of Washington.

Posted by Tracy Ferguson  on  04/27  at  06:42 PM

I do not understand the opposition to taxes, even small increases.  I believe Governor Jindal wants to run a campaign based on the claim that he did not raise taxes, so pledging to veto all tax bills that cross his desk is simply a campaign ploy, an ideological agenda that has little to do with the budgetary needs of the state.  His plans to try to sell prisons and the Office of Group Benefits are other ploys to feed the private industries that give him huge campaign contributions.  He is not thinking about the employees of the state, already underpaid, or the retirees who gave years of service to the state.  He is thinking about his career.  I am sorry that Paul Rainwater, who was a student of mine years ago, has succumbed to this line of thinking.  I cannot agree with Paul’s arguments, nor would I ever vote for Governor Jindal.  I also agree with Celeste that increasing tuitions is a tax on students and their parents.  I am also in favor of the Stelly plan, which worked quite well.

Posted by Stella  on  04/27  at  07:15 PM

I was a participant, and wanted to add some additional comments. I may be in high school, but privatization impacts me as well.
Where does the buck stop? Will the government sell off any areas that give it trouble in the future? Are we facing privatized public schools and hospitals? There’s no reliable way to regulate a privately owned business like we can now regulate government branches. How will we make sure services remain of the same quality as prices fall?
Also, when speaking of legislatively protected funds in our budget, I feel the time has come for complete reexamination of how we appropriate money to different departments. Will we ever see this happen? Why are education and health care the only places we will see cuts?

Posted by Allison  on  04/27  at  07:16 PM

Makes me hurl when I see Jindall bash the state workers and civil service when that is primarily what paid for his livelihood in his young life.  I mean, both of his parents were longtime LASERS benefactors. 

Posted by Alex broussard  on  04/27  at  09:36 PM

Allison,
You are the perfect example of what is wrong with education in Louisiana. You are smart and well spoken, and more aware of what is going on politically than most adults. It’s sad that Louisiana is likely to lose you to another state. We fail our youth miserably when it comes to education. I hope when you do leave the state to get your education that you don’t feel so far behind. You’re very bright and I know you will do well!

Politicians like to say that they send their children to public school. A grand gesture that is supposed to scream, “See, public school is good enough for my kids. It should be good enough for yours!”  I’d like to know how many of those kids are in lab schools? Many people don’t realize that you PAY to send your child to a lab school, and the admission is very exclusive. Yes technically, it’s a public school. Just not a school the general public has access to.

Jasmine,
If you are reading this, please get in touch with me. I enjoyed meeting you and would love to get together for drinks! (Which I have no problem with additional taxation on, by the way.)

Posted by Celeste  on  04/28  at  09:31 AM

For years I have heard that the governor of La. and the legislature spend enormous sums of money on “contracts” of less than one hundred thousand dollars. These, supposedly, are not bidded on and given out to favored political patrons. I would like to see this topic being discussed in a future LPB forum. Lowering the amount of these non-bidded contracts to a much lower sum would save the state alot of money and help to balance the budget.

Posted by Bradley  on  04/28  at  09:44 AM

Commenting on tonight’s program, please be advised that as a citizen of this state, I am opposed to more taxation. Furthermore, I think it is wrong to target a select few, i.e. a tax on cigarettes, when considering a tax to benefit education and reducing our budget. It is my viewpoint that we ALL benefit from education so we should ALL contribute to any taxes that would benefit education and/or a reduction in our budget. We are All in this together and ANY consideration of taxation should be on items which we ALL consume/use/purchase, i.e. food, gasoline, etc. By targeting a select market/product(cigarettes), you are asking a select few to pay for the education of ALL - that is WRONG. However, I would like to reiterate that I oppose ANY taxation at this time and feel it would only hurt our citizens in this bad economy.

Posted by Jo Ann Crumling  on  04/29  at  08:44 AM

To Rep. Smith: Why do you feel that it is right to ask only a select few to contribute to and/or pay for our budget problems with education and reducing our budget, i.e. cigarette taxation? You stated your constituents would support a tax on cigarettes. I would assume that the majority of any constituency would support a tax on cigarettes because the majority of people today do not consume tobacco. Would your constituents support a tax on food, gasoline, clothing, etc. so that they too would be contributing to the budgetary problems our government is facing? If we are to impose any taxes to benefit education or to reduce our state budget, wouldn’t you agree it should be the responsibility of ALL to pay those taxes and not just a few. Another way to look at this is that you are limiting the amount of revenue the state may gain if you are only targeting cigarettes. Taxation is not the answer right now, but if you have to impose a tax, do it fairly where everyone is taxed not just some. We ALL use our education system and we ALL benefit from a balanced budget; we are All citizens of this great state.

Posted by Jo Ann Crumling  on  04/29  at  08:47 AM

Jo Ann,
The escalating health care costs associated with tobacco-related illnesses is said to cost the state $1.47 billion per year. Smokers DO NOT pay their fair share. I don’t smoke, but I do drink. I would have no problem with a ‘sin tax’ on alcohol. If you can’t afford to pay an extra dollar for a pack of cigarettes or a bottle of vodka, then you can’t really afford that vice, can you?

I just spent $4 on a cup of coffee. Do I need a $4 cup of coffee? No. If they raised the price to $5, and I decided that was more than I wanted to pay, I would stop going to Starbucks & CC’s. My life isn’t harmed in any way. Like cigarettes, expensive coffee is not a necessity. Taxing food and clothing, that is a necessity. If you can’t afford food, you starve. You would rather children run around with empty stomaches and tattered shoes than tax cigarettes?

If people quit smoking, it benefits the state greatly. If people quit getting an education, it hurts the state greatly. So, once again, Louisiana politicians are hurting the people of the state. They give big business everything they want, and they assume we are dumb enough to fall for it. The sad thing is, they seem to be right.

Posted by Celeste  on  04/29  at  12:16 PM

Regarding Budget Battle aired 5/1/11. Some members of the panel dodged the ” moral ” issue. The Governor and Republican Legislature have demonized tax increases for the wealthy . It’s “moral” for oil companies to damage the environment including the wet lands and earn billions of $ monthly while the poor and middle classes get the “cuts”. “Cuts” have become the sacred cow. What a sad State !!!!

Posted by Gene Terracina  on  05/03  at  08:15 AM

Why is the Government letting the oil companys steal right out from under you and I! It is absolutely disgraceful and humiliating how the Government simply doesn’t care about us. The President said they need to save our oil for emergencies. We live in Monterey, the price of gas is $3.75 a gallon. With the Mississippi River going to reach a record high within the next few weeks, how can we afford to get out!!!!!!! We’re on Concodrie Bayou and we are surrounded by lakes and bayou’s. Does anyone care, can anyone help? I live with my 86 year old mother, my 17 year old daughter. We don’t have the strength to move everything. We can’t afford flood insurance. It’s far time to get some help in here and lower these gas prices. Or is this just another way for the poor to get poorer?

Posted by Lonnie Morrison  on  05/03  at  08:16 AM
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