Jay Dardenne – Tax Increase Is Necessary
The battle over Louisiana's budget crisis continues to be fought in the media instead of the legislature where they can actually do something about the situation. The latest to weigh in on the situation is former gubernatorial candidate turned John Bel Edwards supporter Jay Dardenne.
The former Lt. Governor says if we the people of Louisiana want to see higher education, health care service, and other state operated programs continue at current operation levels then an increase in revenue is necessary. Dardenne told the Louisiana Radio Network that simple cutting spending will not make up the tremendous shortfall our state is facing.
Dardenne, who now serves as Commissioner of Administration for Governor Edwards said that Governor Edwards is simply being honest with the people of the state.
And that’s what you’re going to hear from this administration. You’re going to get accurate numbers, you’re going to get the truth as hard as it is for a governor recently elected to stand up and say we’ve got to raise some revenue.
Dardenne went on to explain that the tax increases like a one cent sales tax increase aren't about politics. They are about providing the citizens of the state with the programs they deserve and need. He also suggested that many of these proposed revenue increases are not permanent. At least that is the plan for now.
He suggested that without revenue increases a balanced budget would have to come from some serious cuts to programs that have already been budgeted to near death. For example, higher education,
Literally higher education saying in some cases declare financial exigency, in other cases cancel summer school. Make significant reductions in a very short window of time to find that money.
Dardenne suggested that he has been in close communication with leaders of the Republican controlled legislature. He feels like many of those leaders are listening to the Governor's ideas and suggestions.
There is certainly not a sense there that the Republicans have gathered together for the purpose of preventing anything from happening.
From an observers point of view I think we the people have to make a choice. Do we want to pay a little more in taxes to keep higher education and other state programs solvent or are we willing to see higher education and other programs operate on a reduced scale. It's a pick your poison kind of proposition.
Governor Edwards has asked for a special three week special session of the legislature to consider revenue generation or budget cuts or both. That special session is expected to begin later this month.