Formally organizing their enthusiasms as the Louisiana Budget Reform Coalition in the past few months, more than a year prior to that various group members have criticized some long-standing budgetary tactics employed in the executive budget and ratified by the Legislature. Drawing their special scorn has been the practice of using “one-time” money to provide some funding, generally in the range of 1-2 percent, of operating expenses. “One-time money” has come to mean a lot of things, but generally as used it includes funds from one-off transactions such as sale of government assets or a windfall of some kind and monies dedicated for a certain purpose that gets used for another courtesy of a supplemental appropriations bill called a “funds sweep.”
But their problem to date has been they have used the idea mostly as a political cudgel that sounds great and scores points for election purposes, but actually prevented any real progress in improving the state’s fiscal structure. Their great bane, one-time money, they declared a pox upon in advocating it never be used to fund operating expenses, but never seemed to grasp it was just a symptom of the real disease wherein lay the true cause of budgeting distress.