Archive for June 15, 2009

Editorial: 'Stretch funds for campuses'

An editorial in the Baton Rouge Advocate urges lawmakers to delay implementation of the expansion of an income tax deduction. The paper’s opinion staff says the state needs the revenue can relieve budget pressure on Louisiana’s institutions of higher learning.

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber is hardly alone in looking down the road and seeing potentially harder times for state colleges and universities. But the chamber deserves credit for tackling the politically sensitive issue head-on, calling for a delay in a scheduled tax cut for three years while the impact of revenue declines can be assessed.

We need more common-sense leadership in this crisis than we’ve been getting from elected officials, from Gov. Bobby Jindal on down. Endless bleating that delaying a tax cut amounts to a tax increase is not only transparently false but ignores the obvious: Legislators phased in the tax cut, and it should properly be reassessed in light of the decline in state revenue.

The chamber’s program for the future includes not only a tough-minded approach to recurring revenue but greater authority for colleges to raise tuition and fees without periodically crawling to the State Capitol for a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.

Read more.

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Report: 'Showdown on cigarette taxes, unemployment benefits today at Capitol'

The Times-Picayune’s Jan Moller previews the action expected Monday in the legislature.

As ever, the question is, “how to fund state government?”

By the time the House adjourns this evening, one of the following will almost certainly be true:
a) The (not so) great tax debate of 2009 will be pretty much done with after House Bill 889, which would raise cigarette taxes by 50 cents a pack, fails to get the 70 votes needed to send it to the Senate.

- Or -

b) The debate will be very much alive after the bill by Speaker Pro Tem Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, goes to the Senate with enough votes to override an expected veto from Gov. Bobby Jindal.

While most of the smart money is on option (a), the smart money hasn’t always been right this session, as everyone learned Thursday when the House unexpectedly ratified the Senate’s version of the $28.7 billion state budget and threw the state spending picture into the kind of disarray we haven’t seen for several years around the Capitol.

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