Monday, March 14, 2011

Jindal's budget shifts burden to working families

The $24.9 billion state budget proposed by Gov. Bobby Jindal places more of the responsibility for funding public services on middle-class tax payers and working families, while continuing to give big advantages to large corporations and the energy industry.

In addition, members of the Joint Budget Committee pointed out on Friday, the governor’s plan relies on one-time revenues and “imaginary dollars” to balance the budget.

What are imaginary dollars? That’s revenue that will not be available unless the legislature approves some of the administration’s plans in the upcoming session, and unless voters approve constitutional amendments that Jindal is counting on. That means it could be next October before we know for certain whether or not the money in the governor’s budget will even exist.
Here are the sources of the “imaginary dollars”:
  • The sale and privatization of two state prisons, which requires legislative approval.
  • An increase in employee contributions for most members of the State Employees Retirement System from eight percent to 11 percent, which requires legislative approval.
  • The redirecting of dedicated funds to TOPS, a constitutional amendment which requires both legislative approval and approval by voters.

When considered in combination with a recent report from the state’s Revenue Estimating Conference, it’s clear what is happening in Louisiana.

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