Today I will be sharing something from a guest blogger of sorts. One of the things I like about my profession is that it brings me in contact with a lot of good people, who are also smart, well spoken and know how to get to the heart of an issue. My colleague Brett Duncan is an attorney who practices in Hammond, Louisiana. He is a husband, father, runs a small business and is also a member of the Tangipahoa Parish School Board.
Today he posted something on FaceBook about the insanity of the current budget crisis we are facing in Louisiana. Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that the State of Louisiana has had holes in the budget for several years now, with little leadership from our former governor about how to find a long term fix. He left office last month with what everyone knew was going to be a big deficit. Turns out it is about double what we were led to believe it was going to be. Now it looks like there are going to be major cuts and tax increases, since we have what is projected as a $1.5 billion shortfall.
Like any citizen, Brett is concerned. But today he hit on one of the most puzzling and aggravating facts of the whole mess. With his permission, here is hit take:
“We are $500 million net negative in corporate taxes for this fiscal year. Meaning the state of Louisiana is paying out $500 million (in exemptions/credits, etc) more to corporations than we are collecting.” State Sen. Rick Ward during a recent Senate Finance Committee Meeting.
With this nugget of information, it should now be clear to all of us that LA Govt. has prioritized corporate profits over: 1) keeping taxes low for the rest of us, 2) Education, 3) Roads, 4) Orphans, 5) Abused and Neglected Children, 6) Prisons and Criminal Justice, 7) Healthcare, or 8) anything else that we might consider the basic business of state govt.
I support low taxes. I’m all for companys making a profit. I’m even for “economic incentives” to bring new companies and new jobs to LA. What I’m not in favor of is blatant corporate welfare during a time that we (everyone beside giant corporations w/ expensive lobbyist) are being asked to pay higher taxes so that basic state services can be adequately funded.”
Well said my friend. Stated another way, fully one third of our problem is we are going to write $500 million dollars worth of checks, which is fully one third of this years shortfall. It is one thing to be broke. It is another thing altogether to keep handing out our cash, while at the same time we can’t keep the schools open and the roads fixed. Only in Louisiana.