This Spring I will be representing District 91 in the Louisiana State Legislature for the final time. I want you to know that it has been an honor and a pleasure to represent the good people of this District. I am grateful for your support and for the privilege of serving in Baton Rouge and I am hopeful that the hard work completed and the hard work to come this session will help make your days better and brighter.
The Louisiana Legislature enters the 2019 session on April 8 with a much more stable fiscal forecast than previous years, because in 2018 the Legislature finally enacted some long-term fiscal solutions. For the first time in a long time, we aren’t staring down a fiscal cliff or mid-year budget cuts, and although I remain frustrated that we have failed to accomplish structural reform and will continue to advocate for a permanent resolution to our instability, I am happy to report that our efforts in 2018 have resulted in a projected surplus this year.
Unfortunately, politics has intervened and once again a small group of House members have hijacked and stalled the budget process. They seem more content to pull us back into uncertain financial times than to move forward with investing in a stronger Louisiana.
So, now we have two budget bills, mine and Representative Cameron Henry’s. Mine, HB 103, recognizes the money that has already come in during this fiscal year and the conservative predictions presented to the Revenue Estimating Conference, as has every other budget bill in the history of the Louisiana Legislature. Representative Henry’s bill, HB 105, recognizes some of this money, but not all of it, and arbitrarily makes $134 Million in cuts to Higher Ed, K-12 Education, Department of Children and Family Services and Public Private Partnership Hospitals. This petty dispute is politics for the sake of politics.
I, along with the Governor, and what I ultimately believe to be the majority of legislators, believe that our best days are ahead of us. We can move Louisiana forward by building healthier, stronger communities as we invest in our people, in opportunity, in infrastructure, innovation and technology. And this is what we will do…with your engagement and support. So stay engaged, we will be working to get the job done.