To date, the manner in which they have approached this has been mostly symbolic with little in the way of substance. During the past legislative session, they declared a pox on “one-time” money, some which is actual non-recurring dollars but most of which is recurring money shunted to dedicated funds that run surpluses that then require an extra legislative step known as a “funds sweep” to free them from perpetual non-use. This threw the budget out of balance, for which they then declared they had a solution – let somebody else (the commissioner of administration) take responsibility for balancing it using vague criteria they established, including hypocritically the use of one-time money.
More responsible heads prevailed, but that doesn’t mean the self-designated budget hawks have a bad idea. In fact, the notion that state government is bloated is right on the mark. Louisiana always has had a spending problem, not a revenue problem. But the solution is not to create a straw man born of an accounting trick called “one-time money” and then excommunicate it from a discussion of budgeting. The answer lies in properly matching revenues in order of priority of need, although that itself must come only after a decision (perhaps the first steps of this being taken now) about what amount of revenue and from where is appropriate for the state to address these needs in order of priority.