“Fiscal Hawks” Announce Budget Reform Package
This budget reform coalition of about 30 state lawmakers has put together a package of bills that will change how the budget is crafted and the way the state handles budget cuts.
Budget cuts have hit higher ed. and health care hard over the past couple of years. Lake Charles Representative Brett Geymann is hoping to find a way to have these "two critical areas" not receive the hardest hits during tough fiscal times by opening more areas of the budget to cuts:
While those things may be very, very important and very good and worthy cases we're just saying we should put them on the table and make sure that they are more important than health care and higher ed.
Another issue the "fiscal hawks" address in their legislation is the annual argument over using one-time funds on annual expenses. Geymann says they want specific language written in the law on how one-time dollars can be used:
It lays out a more clear process for the Revenue Estimating Conference to identify the revenue that is available for us to spend each year and then, additionally, determine whether it is recurring on non-recurring.
Geymann says the Jindal administration seems open to making changes with how the state comes up with its budget every year:
Remember this is an institutional problem. So it's something that we believe the Administration can work with us on. It's simply the fundamentals and the mechanics of how we do the budget process.
Geymann says the current way the state puts together the budget has led to mid-year budget cuts over the last few years.