LA BUDGET HEARING - Governor John Bel Edwards believes Louisiana will have enough money next year to fully fund the TOPS Tuition Program, Give teachers a pay raise, and increase funding for the Department of Family Services. That’s according to the proposed budget his administration presented before the state joint budget commission last Friday. In an untraditional move, Edward’s Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne unveiled the Governor’s $31 Billion dollar proposed budget for next fiscal year.
House Republican leaders who, ignoring state economists recommendations…have repeatedly blocked attempts to update the state’s revenue forecast, something required by law which has delayed the Governors office from providing an executive budget. After Dardenne’s presentation, committee member and GOP House Speaker Taylor Barras defended delaying the forecasts explaining inaccurate budgets result in an over or under collection of revenue.
"The later we wait in the year the better we get,"explained Barras. "The margin of error gets smaller and smaller. That was my effort."
Dardenne responded by explaining budgets are estimates subject to adjustment.
"There's no government in America that gets a revenue projection exactly right so you have to esitmate," replied Dardenne."And the law contemplates an estimate and it contemplates four meetings a year for the purpose of relooking at that estimate based on changes."
Despite the unusual presentation, this budget is considered to be the most authentic budget proposal by Edwards since taking office in 2016 as his administration faced several budget shortfalls and seven special sessions since. Republican leadership
contends the state has collected too much resulting in millions in surplus whereas others feel that surplus revenues aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Release of the governor's budget proposal kicks off financial negotiations with lawmakers, who will craft a final version of next year's spending plans in the upcoming legislative session that begins April 8.