Remember this fable from childhood?
“The sky is falling! The sky is falling! A piece of it just hit me on the head!”
Critics and opponents of the governor are saying the so-called “doomsday budget” proposal released earlier this week amounts to “Chicken Little” tactics.
Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry first called it in his Facebook video back in September, saying, “The governor has started ‘fear season’. What I mean by that is things that are going to be cut, if he doesn’t get all the money he wants.”
Recently-elected state Treasurer John Schroder has his own Facebook video up now,
“First it was LSU football, now TOPS," he says, noting deep budget cuts have been threatened before.
And Louisiana Association of Business and Industry president Steve Waguespack had a similar message for listeners to KEEL radio in Shreveport.
“We’re just going to put the scariest cuts we can, and then we’ll guilt everyone that revenue’s the only solution.”
Although Governor John Bel Edwards stated his distaste for being constitutionally required to remove funding from so many programs, by telling the Joint Budget Committee: “There is not a cut in that budget proposal that I am advocating for.”
Waguespack offered an alternative interpretation, saying, “The administration has found nothing that they can cut – not one dollar that they can support cutting.”
And while lawmakers have long complained about funds being “locked away” in dedications, LABI’s CEO, who is reportedly considering a run for governor in 2019, had a different message for the legislature:
“Any revenue that they do put forward, they better dedicate it specifically," Waguespack says. "The first thing I would do is look at that TOPS hole. The first two-hundred million they raise should go right back in there and dedicated to it, ‘cause you can’t trust that the administration’s going to use it to fund TOPS.”