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Katrina Jackson

SARAH GAMARD/LSU MANSHIP SCHOOL NEWS SERVICE

On the second to last day of a legislative session where several abortion restrictions easily cleared the Legislature, lawmakers approved a proposed constitutional amendment that could reenforce anti-abortion policies in the state. 

Former Louisiana lawmaker Raymond Jetson assesses the state of young Black males in Baton Rouge. Jetson reports a wide disparity of wealth and education with vast opulence and abject poverty separated in some cases by a few blocks or one zip code away. State Representative Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, and Pelican Institute CEO Daniel Erspamer discuss legislation debated at the State Capitol during the ongoing regular session. Writer Jen Hobbs promotes hemp in American, contending that growing the cash crop can improve health, clean the environment and slow climate change.

Wallis Watkins

The Louisiana House worked behind the scenes Tuesday on tax negotiations. And key to those negotiations is the Legislative Black Caucus, led by Representative Joe Bouie (D-New Orleans).

"The strength of the Black Caucus regarding tax reform is the fact that you usually need 70 votes," he said.

Special Session and the Rainy Day Question

Feb 6, 2017
media commons

“I’m the last person that really wants a special session. My life is actually easier when you-all are not in session,” Governor John Bel Edwards told the Joint Budget Committee ten days ago.

Yet despite the reservations of most everyone involved, the governor has issued the call for a special session to deal with the current year shortfall.

Lawmakers Delay Action on Deficit

Nov 21, 2016
Pinterest

When the Joint Budget Committee met Friday to consider the governor’s plan for remedying the $313-million deficit from Fiscal Year 2016, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne couldn’t resist saying – in effect – “We told you so.”


One Time Penny or Bridge Funding?

Feb 29, 2016
pbs.org

The Senate is now working on the House-approved bills for alleviating the fiscal crisis – and in the case of the penny sales tax measure, the Senate is re-working it.

“It is purposefully useless,” Chairman J.P. Morrell said, as he asked his Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee to amend the bill, making the tax last five years, instead of 18 months.

Department of Revenue secretary Kimberly Robinson helped explain why the House-approved time limit is impractical.

“In terms of the 18 months, this falls under the definition of ‘non-recurring revenue’ for purposes of the Revenue Estimating Conference,” Robinson stated.

GoFundLouisiana ?

Feb 26, 2016
screen capture S. Lincoln

The House convened its Thursday floor session more than an hour late, and went straight to Cameron Henry’s HB 122, to slash $117-million more in state spending.

“We have to balance cuts with revenue,” Henry began.

The measure was immediately peppered with amendments, and before long, the Speaker called a recess. Huddles in the hallways ensued. An hour and a half later they reconvened, and surprise!

Should Tax-Break Trims Be Permanent?

Feb 19, 2016
Media Commons

 When trying to fix Louisiana’s budget last session, corporate tax breaks were on the chopping block.

“What we did was essentially go in and suspend the tax exemptions, tax credits and tax rebates by a certain percentage,” Monroe Rep. Katrina Jackson, the author of  those bills explained to House Ways and Means Committee members Friday morning.

Jackson’s bills cut the tax breaks by 28-percent for 3 years. They haven’t worked as expected, however: currently, corporate tax collections are a negative number. The state has paid out $210-million more to businesses than it has collected in taxes.

Jackson’s bills for this session would make the 28-percent cut permanent.

Bell is Tolling for Higher Education

Apr 9, 2015
courtesy LSU

Louisiana’s House Appropriations Committee has been asking every agency to present their worst-case scenario when showing up for budget hearings. Wednesday, the committee got the grim prognosis—full force—from higher education.

“Higher education would be reduced by $600-million. That’s an 82-percent reduction from 14-15,” legislative budget analyst Willis Brewer stated.

"Excellence Fee" Idea Not Measuring Up

Mar 3, 2015

At first, it seemed as though everyone was breathing a sigh of relief, as the 2016 executive budget proposal unveiled last week did not slash higher education as deeply as expected.

“The true reduction to higher education is $211.3 million,” Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols told the Joint Budget Committee last Friday.

But Nichols went on to admit that number is built on “ifs” and “maybes” that include capping the business inventory tax credit, as well as asking college students to pay what the administration is calling an “excellence fee”.

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