2016 was certainly an unusual year for Louisiana politics, so what can we expect in 2017? Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says next year will be all about the budget. He says we can look forward to another contentious battle over revenue versus spending. He says like last year, we are entering the New Year with a massive budget shortfall.

“We have a budget deficit again that has to be balanced by more cuts or do we have a special session and try to raise revenue from income tax or more sales taxes.”

Pinsonat says there’s still the possibility of yet another special session next year to address the looming $600 million deficit, which could increase after the Revenue Estimating Conference meets again later this month. He says how Governor John Bel Edwards addresses the budget problems will greatly affect his popularity. He says Edwards is entering the 2017 with a high favorability rating.

“When you have a huge budget deficit and you could call a special session to try to raise more revenue, his popularity could plummet again.”

Pinsonat says we also have to elect a new state treasurer, and even that will be about the budget. He says Senator-elect John Kennedy became popular because of the budget crisis. He adds that one of the outgoing State Treasurer’s slogans during his campaign was that Louisiana has spending problem, not a revenue problem.

“Continuing budget deficits, trying to maybe charge our tax structure, all of that backdrop is perfect for a race for treasurer because it’s what made Kennedy popular.”