Regarding your editorial belittling progress on the budget, “A long march to nowhere.” Really?!
You must have lost sight of where we began this “year” (even now, not yet six months into John Bel Edwards’ administration).
We started two billion dollars in the hole, with every fund-sweeping, asset-selling, expense-deferring, non-recurring revenue trick depleted by the prior administration and the state’s universities cut to the bone.
Better your editorial might have said, “Long March from Oblivion.”
Perhaps Edwards doesn’t crow enough for his accomplishments to get the credit they deserve.
The legislature approved $1.5 billion in new revenue measures from February to June. Would we have seen this outcome without strong gubernatorial leadership? I think not.
After the first special session, he might have cheered, “What a great political success for me!”
Instead, Edwards simply said, “We could have done better,” and he was right.
He continued the fight in this recent special session and won $263 million more. Less than he wanted, less than we needed, but “chump change” it was not.
We’ll likely see more gubernatorial initiatives approved in next year’s fiscal session. Legislators opposed this year to restructuring itemized deductions may vote for it as part of a comprehensive tax reform strategy in 2017.
In summing up the second special session, Edwards emphasized where “WE” stood in the long march from oblivion.
“WE made difficult choices.”
“WE made tremendous progress.”
“WE avoided the catastrophic cuts that were imminent.”
His comments gave credit for collaborative success to the governor and legislators alike during three demanding legislative sessions.
Instead of bemoaning the shortfall, we should be encouraged by how far we’ve come with combined gubernatorial-legislative leadership and heartened to do more in 2017.
The proverbial journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Edwards and a corps of courageous legislators strode a mighty distance in just four months.
Merely “A long march from nowhere”? Hardly!
The Public Law Center