Filed Under:  OpEd, Opinion

Problems with the truth

24th November 2014   ·   0 Comments

Eventually the truth catches up to everyone, even our Governor. No matter how far he flies from Louisiana, or what state he is in, the facts follow him. His administration’s repeated attempts to evade responsibility for their budget mismanagement are falling short. The misleading projections, obfuscations, gimmicks, and patchwork fixes are now wearing thin. Lies cannot lead them out of the imminent fiscal chaos their choices have wrought.

The Administration’s latest claim is that this year’s mid-year budget cuts (a previously unusual practice that has become a near-constant refrain over the past seven years) will “spare” higher education. When asked if he thought this was possible, the Governor’s hand-picked Senate Budget Chair said, “No, I don’t.”

Reports indicate that the latest cuts will focus once again on our beleaguered healthcare system that has been pummeled during the Jindal regime. As I’ve written before, our health care systems have continued to get sicker under Jindal.

Where do we go from here?

In front of us is a massive $1.4+ billion hole in next year’s budget, the price to pay the piper for years of kicking the budget can down the road. With so many sacred, dedicated revenue streams, this shortfall is a looming disaster for vulnerable areas of our budget, including higher education and health care. Moreover, impacts from the Governor’s rejected hospital privatization financing system are still unknown, but likely amount in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Behind us are a series of lies and irresponsible maneuvers meant to limp the state along just another year. Just long enough for Governor Jindal to run out the clock on his term in office. We have drained nearly all of the various dedicated funds to pay ongoing expenses. The latest fraud was a multi-million dollar phantom budget “surplus,” for 2014, later proven to be a $150 million-plus deficit. Once the truth about the “surplus” came out, the administration announced a spending freeze. Confusingly, Louisiana continues to be one of the few states in which a recovering economy has not spurred tax revenue growth.

If the Administration had told Louisiana the truth throughout these years, things would have been different. Confronting these structural fiscal problems is essential. Running away from them is dangerous and irresponsible. Lying about the fiscal reality is even worse.

– Karen Carter Peterson
State Senator

This article originally published in the November 24, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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