Don’t reward the avoidance of problems

At Monday’s Revenue Estimating Conference (“REC”) meeting, the group rejected including in the FY15 budget $54 million in savings proposed by the New York consulting firm of Alvarez and Marsal as unsubstantiated.

The Senate Finance Committee also rejected most of the $73 million in savings proposed by the same consulting firm.

On the other hand, the REC increased state revenues by $65 million. In other words, the leges have even less revenues to spend for the fiscal year budget that begins on July 1.

Under the best case scenario, that is, assuming all the imaginary money already included in the FY 15 budget materializes for FY16, the state with be faced with finding replacement revenues for somewhere between $1 billion and $2 billion during next spring’s 2015 Regular Session.

Since the 2015 Regular Session is a tax year, the leges could raise taxes by $2 billion or they can cut the budget by $2 billion. The citizens will not like either or a combination of the two. There’s a third alternative — “kick the can” to the next governor and leges.

In what can only be described at humorous, Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield said that in order to collect the revenues owed to the state he had to hire a consultant to tell him how. That should be immediate grounds for firing the person whose sole job is to collect state taxes.

Meanwhile, Team Jindal will only be responsible for funding a budget for half of FY16. They will all be gone the second half of the year.

The next governor and many of these same leges will be faced with a special session in January or February of 2016 to raise at least $2 billion in new taxes or cut the budget by $2 billion or a combination of both. The road ends with them, so there’s nowhere to “kick the can.”

My question to the current leges is why any of you would want to be governor or a lege in January 2016?

Other than Rep. John Bel Edwards, not a single announced candidate for governor has even tried to address the fiscal problems.

Folks, re-electing the same leges will only be rewarding them for creating a mess for which your taxes will increase and your services will decrease.

We need lots of new faces in the lege for 2016.

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