NEW ORLEANS— Today, the Pelican Institute unveiled solutions to Louisiana’s fundamentally broken budgeting process, with the release of the first in its series of deep-dive policy papers under the new, nonpartisan policy platform, “A Jobs and Opportunity Agenda for Louisiana.”
Among the primary budget challenges highlighted in the paper is the state’s abundance of non-reviewed government spending, nearly 90 percent of which is locked in silos and not available for discretionary use. The paper also addresses the underfunding and unreliability of the state’s rainy-day fund, its overdependence on federal government revenue, and its exponential spending growth in the years following Hurricane Katrina, among other issues.
Among the solutions the Pelican Institute details in the paper are calling on state lawmakers to re-examine the arbitrary funding silos and non-reviewed government spending, to improve both long- and short-term revenue forecasting to account for upswings and downturns, as well as to enact policies to bolster transfers made to the rainy-day fund.
Daniel Erspamer, chief executive officer of Pelican Institute, said the solutions offered in the paper represent a holistic approach to rectifying the core problems with Louisiana’s budget.
“Year after year, Louisianans are informed of yet another fiscal crisis facing the state, with politicians continually calling for permanent solutions to our budget woes,” said Erspamer. “Pelican Institute’s budget reform recommendations provide a comprehensive playbook to help our lawmakers better manage and modernize the budget, while stabilizing the state’s fiscal system without having to constantly go back to taxpayers to pick up the bill. The answers are all here, and now our elected officials must decide if they want to continue embracing an obviously broken status quo or blaze a new path for an approach to budgeting that will encourage rather than drive jobs and opportunity out of Louisiana.”
In addition to the solutions paper, Pelican Institute also recently released a video advertising campaign exploring the budget issue in a humorous way. In the video, a husband and wife (representing “the government” and “special interests,” respectively) play against their children (representing Louisiana taxpayers) in a board game called “From the Makers of Fiscal Cliff, it’s Balanced Budget.” The children spend the ad taking steps to amend the state’s broken budget, but they are stopped along the way by red tape, corrupt backroom dealings and non-reviewed government spending, which have proven to be real-life roadblocks for lawmakers attempting to fix the state’s budget.
The budget solutions paper, along with video ad, is the first piece in the Pelican Institute’s “A Jobs and Opportunity Agenda for Louisiana,” which envisions a better Louisiana for all citizens by enacting sweeping reforms to encourage the return of jobs and opportunity back to the state. Over the next several months, the Pelican Institute will disseminate detailed policy papers spotlighting topics in need of fundamental change and offering solutions based on in-depth research, analysis and examples from other states around the country.
Other issues covered in Pelican Institute’s monthly solution paper releases will include reforms to the following systems in Louisiana: taxes, local government, criminal justice, education, legal and regulatory structures and Medicaid.