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PAR Guide to the State Budget Crisis

Posted: 04/10/2015

The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana has released an in-depth examination of the state’s budget crisis. PAR’s Guide to the State Budget Crisis examines the fiscal condition of the state, including the historical factors that lead us to the current situation. Louisiana is facing its toughest state budget challenge since the 1980s oil industry depression. Required by law to construct a balanced budget, the Legislature is seeking ways to close a $1.6 billion gap between expected general fund revenue and the initial estimate for spending in the 2016 fiscal year. This report reviews the decisions and circumstances that created Louisiana’s chronic and compounding budget sustain-ability problem. It serves as an educational primer on state budgeting and it investigates the familiar as well as the obscure but critical elements of state taxing and spending.

The wide-ranging report covers many content areas including healthcare, higher education, transportation, and state support of local government, among others. There are also a series of in-depth sections. The section on the state pension systems shows that this is not some future crisis in waiting, but is already having a substantial impact on the budget. The section that reviews dedicated funding demonstrates that while fixes can be made, change is not as straight forward as some might think. This report also contains an analysis of the state’s tax exemptions including a special section devoted to tax on inventory. The inventory tax section examines the nature and history of this peculiar tax structure and reviews the various proposed solutions.

“This report is designed to serve citizens as an owner’s manual to the budget,” notes PAR President Robert Scott. “The $1.6 billion budget shortfall has rightfully caused a great deal of concern and interest. This will help people navigate the often complex fiscal waters. Our hope is that readers will come away with a different, more informed perspective on the budget issues facing the state.”

For question regarding this report please contact Steven Procopio at 225-926-8414 (ext. 224) or by email at steven@parlouisiana.org.

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