(Baton Rouge, LA) – In 2017, Governor Edwards surprised many of the Republicans in the legislature as his administration expressed support for a cap on government spending and limiting the amount the legislature could spend to 98% of projected revenues.
The Advocate reported on March 19, 2017, that the governor backed this 98% spending cap back when Sen. Jim Fannin (R-Jonesboro) authored it. “The governor is supportive of this idea because we want to make sure we’re good stewards of the public’s money,” said Kimberly Robinson, who heads the Revenue Department. “If we have unforeseen incidents such as hurricanes, tornadoes or floods that require state government to spend extra resources, the unspent money will be available.”
Fast forward to the present legislative session, Rep. Rick Edmonds (R-Baton Rouge) has authored a spending cap proposal that would go into effect next fiscal year and the Edwards administration suddenly opposes spending caps.
Matthew Block, speaking on behalf of the Governor, lashed out against the spending cap proposal calling the idea “intellectually dishonest” during the bill’s hearing at the Senate Finance Committee Meeting held on Tuesday. The bill, HB 147, would prevent the government from spending 2% of its total budget, amounting to $834 million over the next four fiscal years that could be put toward the rainy-day fund. The bill has passed the House and is awaiting its day on the Senate floor.
“The governor’s administration stated that they supported the idea once we got out of a budget crisis,” Edmonds said. “We have a surplus this year and there is no fiscal cliff on the horizon. What better time would there be to implement this measure?”