Edwards Says Campaign Promises Not Broken
He has been Louisiana's Governor since January 11th and it looks like the "honeymoon" is already over for Governor John Bel Edwards. The issue is how to deal with the state's tremendous budget shortfall. Critics of Edwards say that his proposals that would raise taxes are in direct conflict with what he promised voters during the election campaign.
Edwards has countered those arguments by saying,
It is time to stop living in a fantasy land, it’s time to stop pretending that things are better than they are. You’re going to see honest budgeting, you’re going to see responsible budgeting from me.
In a story published by the Louisiana Radio Network Edwards suggested that his proposals are totally different than what he discussed during the election. He indicated that the facts are entirely different and that his proposals are based on necessity. Edwards pointed to budget numbers that weren't nearly as bad during the campaign as they are now.
There is no additional money there to count for merit raises for state employees, there is no money in there for a K-12 finding formula increase. In the strictest sense of the phrase, this is a continuation budget.
One of Edwards' more vocal critics, State Treasurer John Kennedy, has gone on record as saying that a balanced budget can be achieved without raising taxes. Edwards says that is just John Kennedy playing politics and attempting to boost his campaign for U.S. Senate.
John Kennedy is going to say what John Kennedy says and I appreciate that. The fact of the matter is he’s running for Senate, he will do what he thinks is in his best interest, I would invite him to do what’s in the state’s best interest instead.
The budget shortfall for this fiscal year is projected to be $1.9 billion dollars. That figure does not take into account inflation or any other variable factors.