Today, the Legislature begins the second week of a three month-long regular session — and there's a lot of work to be done. But, according to a statewide survey, few Louisianians are confident that state government can handle its biggest problems.
Part one of the 2018 Louisiana Survey was recently released by LSU's Public Policy Research Lab. Michael Henderson is the Director.
"People are pretty disillusioned and pessimistic about the state's politics and state government today," he said.
Over 800 people participated in the annual survey.
Sixty percent said elected officials need to work across the aisle, even if it means having to make concessions. But asked if they thought those officials would compromise, "resoundingly," said Henderson, "three quarters of people say 'no. We want them to, but no, we don’t expect they will.'"
Compromise is an area where legislators have struggled lately. They're currently faced with having to make nearly $700 million in cuts to next year’s budget, because they were unable to agree on how to raise revenue in the special session.
For many, economic problems are the biggest concern — things like jobs, wages, the cost of living and poverty. Nearly 70 percent say good jobs are hard to find in their community.
"On the other hand," explains Henderson, "most people don't think the economy's getting any worse and most people say they’re getting along as well as they have recently in terms of their own personal finances."
Half of those polled think Louisiana is headed in the wrong direction. That's up 10 points from one year ago.
"In fact today, democrats in Louisiana are more likely to say the state's heading in the wrong direction than republicans are," he says.
That could cause concern for Gov. John Bel Edwards, a democrat, as he prepares to campaign for re-election in 2019.