Sick of budget cuts? Then budget for less, says lawmaker
One Louisiana lawmaker believes he has the solution to Louisiana’s ongoing midyear budget cuts. Jonesboro Senator Jim Fannin says the Revenue Estimating Conference consistently overestimates how much money the state will bring in, which leads to midyear cuts every year.
“All the agencies have consistently said if we’ve got to take a cut, then help us to do it up front at the beginning of the year where we’ve got the whole year to manage the reduction,” Fannin said.
Fannin says he plans to propose a bill in the upcoming fiscal session to limit the amount of money the state budgets each year. He says the plan would limit lawmakers to using only 98% of the revenue forecast by the REC. He says that way if they come up short, midyear cuts wouldn’t be necessary.
“If you did hit your forecast at the end of the year, it would show up as excess, then we have laws already in place that determine what you do with excess,” Fannin said.
Fannin says if the state reaches the estimate three years in a row, they could go back to budgeting 100% of the funds. He says he proposed a similar idea under former-Governor Bobby Jindal, but it didn’t gain much traction. He says Governor John Bel Edwards supports the plan. But he doesn’t expect everyone in the legislature to back the bill.
”I understand how people like to spend in Baton Rouge. So there will probably be those that won’t support it, but we can at least have the discussion about it,” Fannin said.