Now that it’s been fattened with excess taxpayer
first stab at Louisiana’s fatted calf has occurred, from the state’s higher
education institutions following a flawed
At its meeting last
week, the Louisiana Board of Regents for Higher Education expressed its
desire to grab over two fiscal years for itself more than $300 million of a
projected $534.8 million surplus. It wants $155.6 million to increase
operational spending, or about a 15
percent increase in discretionary funding over this year’s fiscal year 2020
budget for FY 2021. Additionally, it petitioned for $150 million in capital
outlay spending from the nearly $350 million potentially available for that
purpose from the FY 2019 surplus, to address a wish list of $1.5 billion.
Specifically, the Board wants $36.3 million to
raise faculty salaries to the southern regional average, $34 million for GO
Grants to increase need-based student aid which more than doubles that, $9
million to fund fully Taylor Opportunity Program for Students merit aid, $28.7
million to reward schools for improving student outcomes, and $18.3 million to
cover mandated expenses such as rising health insurance and retirement costs.
This would add on to the $47 million taxpayer boost from this fiscal year.
The numbers are in: over the past three years,
Louisianans have been overtaxed almost $1 billion. It’s time to change this
intolerable abuse of the people’s money.
week, the Revenue Estimating Conference put the official fiscal year 2019
surplus at $535 million, joining surpluses over the previous two years that
make these the highest in state history over such a time span. Even though the
2018 renewal of 2016 sales tax increases backed by Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards took
in almost as much, economists attributed the gigantic overbite primarily to
federal income tax law changes. Keep in mind the surplus came even as Edwards
has ratcheted up spending
of state tax revenues on operating costs faster than the rate of inflation
during his time in office.
Of course, big spenders like Edwards, his
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, and certain
legislators have come up with dishonest
rationalizations not to implement tax relief despite the record results:
Is there a bigger attention whore in Louisiana politics
than ex-Senate candidate, ex-state House candidate, and now ex-parish party
leader Rob Maness?
Maness managed to insert himself into the news
cycle last week when he criticized a statement by political activist Lane Grigsby
concerning the state Senate District 16 contest. At the time prior to a recount,
vote totals of two Republicans tied, trailing a Democrat. State law in this
instance would have had all three on the ballot for the general election runoff,
which likely would have handed the Democrat the victory.
However, the recount put GOP state Rep. Franklin Foil ahead by four votes. Grigsby,
who has a long history of financial assistance to preferred candidates
typically conservative (but not always; during Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ 2015 campaign he
donated to him) had said he would back
Foil in a future campaign if he had remained tied in votes and would withdraw
from the SD 16 race prior to the runoff.