While in most cases going one-for-two is really good (unless you’re this team, where that’s not much above average), the Republican-led Louisiana House of Representatives really couldn’t afford to miss one on its budgetary matters.
Last week, the chamber dealt with two significant money bills: the fiscal year 2022 budget that in part depends upon and a supplemental spending bill wholly dependent upon federal government revenues rained down courtesy of borrowing that edges the country closer to financial crisis. Only on the latter did it act wisely, mostly.
HB 642 would take a quarter of an estimated $1.6 billion in largesse to refill belatedly the unemployment trust fund, while $300 million would contribute to fixing local government water woes mostly an artifact of declining population bases and deliberate consumer underpricing. Another $55 million would enhance port infrastructure and $50 million would make up for small business losses. The questionable part of the bundle, $119.5 million, would go to special interests in broadband (most of it, including boosting the Legislature’s technology even though for this purpose a separate $180 million from the federal government already is in the pipeline), logging, and movie theater operations. Sensibly, the remaining $676 million would be parked to await future demonstrated need throughout the year, allocated by the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget.