Several one sided and misleading articles have been printed throughout the state this week chastising House Republicans for not having a plan and not solving the budget deficit. However, the real reason these articles have continued to criticize legislators is because we refuse to adopt a plan to raise taxes and continue government growth which has doubled the private sector's growth. We are NOT planning to solve the deficit on the backs of Louisiana middle-income families and small businesses.
The House has proposed and enacted a better way of dealing with this year’s deficit, which will also help solve the ‘fiscal cliff’ and will help prevent future mid-year deficits. It starts by enacting a standstill budget. The concept behind this standstill budget is simple: 1) we shouldn’t spend more than we expect to receive and 2) government agencies are going to have to learn how to live with the same amount of money that they received last year. Each time the legislature has spent 100% of the state’s expected revenue forecast, the forecast have been wrong requiring mid-year cuts to agencies which have little time (eliminate: amongst a handful of months) to absorb the cuts and plan their year-end budgets. As a result, higher education and healthcare are forced to bear the brunt of those cuts.
This year, we decided to end the bad habit of over-appropriating and only budget spending at 97.5% of our expected revenue. The concept is simple, don't spend "invisible money" that you are unlikely to ever receive. This is exactly what your family and our local businesses do when they suffer a budget crunch — halt the spending and budget less money. This is fiscally prudent budgeting.
Along with the standstill budget, the House fully funded TOPS. TOPS is an important program promised to high-achieving students and we are honoring our commitment to fully fund TOPS. Years ago the TOPS program afforded me the opportunity to attain a college degree. I want to ensure that our state's best and brightest have that same great opportunity.
So, the next time you read an article saying the legislature is doing nothing to solve the deficit, remember they are right in one aspect. When it comes to raising your taxes, some of us plan on doing nothing. When it comes to enacting reforms that will prevent government from out-of-control spending growth, we are fighting for you.
State Representative District 49