At the Capitol, legislators are asked to make informed decisions regarding numerous issues. Items concerning anti-abortion policies, the budget, taxes, capital outlay and guns are presented each and every year. When we are deciding these important issues, every question we have to answer is accompanied by facts and figures from legislative staff and by interested parties on both sides of each issue.
That is exactly how the Legislature is supposed to work. Legislators should do their own research on bills, listen to the concerns of their constituents and examine the facts. When legislators do this, they can and will make informed decisions on the issues that matter to you. However, in this session, the governor’s administration asked us to make very important decisions without having all the facts.
For example, there were folks and businesses in 36 parishes who had their state tax return deadline pushed back because of the flooding our state endured in March. Legislators and staff have no clue how many dollars have yet to be collected from those affected. These dollars could offset the need for additional revenue.
Another example includes items passed in the first special session. One piece of legislation, now Act 23, was passed in March with a $0 fiscal note; however, it has added $7 million to the state’s coffers. There are other pieces of legislation that have been scored at $0 but will probably bring in additional money.
Lastly, but most importantly, legislators have yet to receive a comprehensive report from our bipartisan tax and budgetary reform commission. This commission was set up because House Republicans understood that tax and budgetary reform is desperately needed in our state. The commission’s goal was to report its final recommendations in September. Before any other short-term changes are made to our tax system or budget, we should hear the recommendations of this commission.
It is absurd for this Legislature to blindly make decisions that will impact working families and small businesses, especially when it may impact them negatively. The governor should stop attempting to force the Legislature to pass these baseless pieces of legislation and should work to empower legislators with the most accurate information possible.
In all actuality, in order for us to have the information we need, the governor just needs to give us more time. This will give us the ability to see how much revenue our state will bring in with everything we have done already. Ultimately, the guessing game this administration wants us to play is a disservice to you, our constituents.
State Rep. Lance Harris
House Republican delegation chairman