State Senate President Pro Tem Sharon Broome says the needs of her district reflect those of many others in Louisiana: jobs.
“Everybody wants a decent living so they can pay their bills and maintain their dignity,” said Broome, who serves in Senate District 15 in north Baton Rouge.
And one way to do that, she said, is for the state to put more emphasis on aiding small businesses.
“It is a different angle that needs to be emphasized,” the Baton Rouge Democrat said.
Broome, who did not have any opposition this year, has mixed feelings about how the state has handled its $1.6 billion revenue shortfall.
“One of the things that we have to continue to focus on is fighting our inefficiencies in government,” she said.
“While I think we have made some progress in that area I think we need to continue to move in that direction.”
Broome added, “We have been able to ride out the storm without closing hospitals and prisons and shutting down universities or shutting down government generally.”
However, Broome also said she thinks the state missed a chance when the Legislature killed a bill that would have raised the state cigarette tax by 70 cents per package, up from 36 cents now.
It would have raised more than $100 million per year.
“We missed an opportunity there for raising revenue,’ ” Broome said. “And that was something that benefited us from a health-care perspective and a revenue-raising measure.”
Broome said that is the only tax hike she would consider backing.
“Everybody recognizes that we have to tighten our belt,” Broome said. “But most people want to do it without a devastating impact on the quality of life of citizens.”
As Senate president pro tem, Broome often presides over daily Senate sessions.
She has also been mentioned as a future statewide candidate for Democrats, who failed to file any major contenders for five statewide offices this year.
Earlier this year Broome pushed a bill that would have required a “poverty impact” note to be attached to proposed legislation.
She said it would be similar to “fiscal notes” that spell out the financial impact that proposed bills would have on state operations.
However, she dropped the bill for now while the issue is studied.
“The reason I did not go forward with my bill was because they (legislative employees) have a challenge producing fiscal notes,” she said.
“I do not want it so labor intensive that it has no effect,” Broome said. “I want us to find a way that is doable.”
Broome said that, even with major drops in state revenue in recent years, taxpayers have seen benefits.
“We have provided both business and individuals over $1.6 billion in tax breaks over the last eight years,” she said.
“And that is revenue that we are not going to get back even with a recovering economy,” Broome said.
“So I think we need to keep all of that in perspective.”
Democrat, Baton Rouge.
55, communications consultant.
EDUCATION: B.A., University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse; M.A., Regent
University, Virginia Beach, Va.
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: State House of Representatives, 1991-2005; state Senate, 2005-present.
WHERE TO VOTE
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East Baton Rouge Parish
1-2 Melrose Upper Elementary
1-54 Villa Del Rey Elementary
1-55 Christa McAuliffe Sherwood Center
1-60 Broadmoor Middle
1-70 Park Forest Elementary
1-71 Twin Oaks Elementary
1-77 St. Mark United Methodist Church
1-78 Park Forest Middle
1-81 Flannery Road Park Recreation Center
1-82 Park Forest Middle
1-83 Northdale Academy
1-84 Glen Oaks Middle
1-86 J.K. Haynes Elementary Christian
1-87 Twin Oaks Elementary
1-88 LaBelle Aire Elementary
1-91 Ryan Elementary
1-92 Scotlandville Elementary
1-93 6th District Volunteer Fire Station
1-94 1st Presbyterian Church of Scotlandville
1-95 Crestworth Learning Academy
1-97 EBR Public Works East Lot
1-101 Progress Elementary
1-104 Independence Recreation Center
2-1 Lanier Elementary
2-2 Baker Heights Elementary
2-3 Brownsfield Volunteer Fire Station
2-4 Baker High
2-5 Zachary High
2-9 Baker Middle
2-10 Foster Road Baptist Church
2-11 Sharon Hills Elementary
2-12 Brownfields Elementary
2-13 Bakerfield Elementary
2-14 Zachary City Hall
2-15 White Hills Elementary
2-16 Glen Oaks High
2-17 Baker Town Hall
2-18 Zachary Elementary
2-19 Baker High
2-20 Bakerfield Elementary
2-22 Beechwood Elementary
2-23 Merrydale Elementary
2-24 Alsen BREC Recreation Center
2-25 Bethany World Prayer Center
2-27 Sharon Hills Elementary
2-28 Zachary City Hall
2-30 Glen Oaks Park Elementary
32-1 Baker Town Hall
3-88 Greenbrier Elementary
3-24 Park Forest Elementary
3-42 Greenbrier Elementary
3-54 EBR Public Works East Lot