Walt Leger

Budget 101: Outgo

Jan 18, 2017
Sue Lincoln

Yesterday we looked at state income, as part of Budget 101. Today we’ll look at the outgo.

Where does Louisiana spend its $9-billion of State General Fund revenue?  Let’s begin with non-discretionary items. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says first and foremost, we pay our debts.

Still Short of Funding, 2nd Special Session Ends

Jun 24, 2016
Sue Lincoln

  Governor John Bel Edwards tried to put a good face on it.

“I am extremely pleased with where we are, considering where we started. And while we may have come up short in a few ways, we made difficult choices and we made tremendous progress,” the Governor said, during a press conference a few minutes after the session’s close.

Yet when lawmakers adjourned the 2nd special session, they were still $350-million short of what was needed for the budget that begins July first, and the chasm between the House and Senate had widened.

Epic Fail: State Construction Bill

Jun 7, 2016
Sue Lincoln

The regular session has ended, and the second special session has begun. And the chairman of House Ways and Means, Neil Abramson, is nobody’s favorite right now. He did not get the capital outlay bill – HB 2 – passed.

Senate President John Alario kept waiting for it.

'Raise The Age' Bill Wins House Approval

Jun 3, 2016
wwno.org, Mallory Faulk

Louisiana is one of just nine states that treats 17-year-olds as adults when it comes to any criminal offense. That’s about to change, now, as the full House has passed SB 324.

He Said What?

May 19, 2016
S. Lincoln

Speaker Pro Tem Walt Leger was handling Senator Ronnie Johns’ SB 468 on the House floor Wednesday afternoon.

“This bill has to do with the minimum age for dancers in strip clubs. If you have to be 21 to drink in a strip club, you probably ought to be 21 to dance,” Leger said, introducing the measure which has the intent to help halt human trafficking.

Budget Maneuvers: Appropriating the A.G.

May 10, 2016
Sue Lincoln

As House Appropriations took up the budget bill Monday, it sounded like the Governor and Approps chair Cameron Henry might finally be on the same page.

“The good news is: there are no fund sweeps. There are no one-time revenues lined up against recurring expenditures,” Governor John Bel Edwards told the Baton Rouge Press Club, while Henry told his committee:

“We do not have any use of one-time money for re-occuring expenses, or sweeping of funds. And I’ll give this administration for only spending the money that we actually have.”

House Stuck in Revenue Neutral

Mar 8, 2016
Mark Carroll

Monday was the final day for the House to pass any revenue raisers, and still enable the Senate to act on them in the special session. Yet a bill to cut federal excess itemized deductions in half prompted protests.

“Some have labeled this ‘taxing the tithe’,” said the Louisiana Family Forum’s former vice president, Representative Rick Edmonds.

House Loosening Up with Alcohol Tax

Mar 7, 2016
Rex Fortenberry

If the votes on the alcohol tax increase are an accurate indication, a new alliance in the House between Democrats and moderate Republicans may leave the hard-line conservatives who’ve been holding up the revenue-raisers hung out to dry.

Though the alcohol tax hike failed to pass by 5 votes on Friday, it came up again Sunday evening. 

They Said “More Cuts” and Meant It

Feb 24, 2016
Sue Lincoln

Louisiana’s House Republicans have been insisting the Governor needs to make more budget cuts before they’ll consider raising revenue. With the full House considering the tax hike bills tomorrow, they took matters into their own hands today.

“The Governor maxxed out all of his cuts. Our additional cuts are 87-million,” House Appropriations chairman Cameron Henry said when opening discussion on his bill to remove a total of $117-million from state agencies.

Opposing Bills and Views of the Working Poor

Feb 19, 2016
screen capture by S. Lincoln

“As I understand it, we have competing bills.”

Thus began a lively debate between Speaker Pro Tem Walt Leger and Prairieville Rep. Tony Bacala.

“I have introduced a bill to eliminate Earned Income Tax Credits, and the other bill is to double Earned Income Tax credits,” Bacala explained.

Leger, a Democrat, began with a bit of history, noting that the federal EITC was initiated by Louisiana’s former U.S. Senator, Russell Long.