Bossier Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Lisa Johnson spoke with State Senator Barrow Peacock, R-Dist. 37, during Monday’s “Chamber Chat” to discuss the reconvening of the Legislative session, the priorities for it, the state budget and our region.
Peacock said on May 11, when Gov. Edwards is to announce if Louisiana will move forward to Phase 1, it is also the day for the state’s Revenue Estimating Committee meeting.
“That’s going to determine what amount of money each budget committee can work with,” Peacock said.
“Everybody is really waiting to see what Revenue Estimating and those two economist ones from the Division of Administration, and one from the legislative office come together, and present different forecasts for the next year.”
Peacock is expecting a tough financial picture coming from the committee due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Not only with oil and gas [revenue] down, tourism is down. Tourism is also gaming for our area, with the riverboats and the racetrack being shut down,” Peacock said. “These are all things that we are having to deal with. And the reality will really probably be setting in on the 11th.”
During the WebEx Chamber Chat, questions were asked by Johnson regarding committee meetings, bills and amendments during this abbreviated session.
“As for the committees that are going to be meeting, tomorrow [May 5] on the Senate side we will start hearing bills,” Peacock said.
“A lot of the late filed bills that were done right between when we left here on March 16 and March 31. A lot of the bills that were filled, especially dealing with COVID-19, were done in a way that they can be a vehicle to take care of issues that are developing from this pandemic.”
When asked about the announced $1.8 billion allocated by the federal government to the state of Louisiana for COVID-19 response, Peacock said the use of the money is determined in Washington D.C.
“Can any of that money be used to help offset some of the losses of the lost revenues that our state government or local government are missing? Currently the way that it is phrased it cannot be used to replace lost revenue, [because the] economy is not producing like it was in year’s past,” Peacock said.
“So what happens in Washington will also affect what happens here in our budget process as we can allocate that money. Hopefully, there will be something that is done in Washington in time for us to get our budget process done here by June 1t. Or if not, we will have to come back into a special session in June,” he added.