The big game this month will not be played in the Superdome or Tiger Stadium. It will pit cash rich special interests versus the taxpayers of Louisiana.

After nearly a decade of victory after victory in the Louisiana Legislature, the special interests are now disappointed that a few voices are saying big business and industry should pay their fair share in a state that has made billions upon billions of dollars for their largely out-of-state clients.

Indeed some have gone as far as to suggest that the billions of Louisiana taxpayer dollars that go to special interests through consulting fees, tax breaks and entitlements to out-of-state-based industry might be better spent on improving the quality of life in Louisiana.

According to such thinking, Louisianians should be entitled to see their tax dollars spent on educating their children, maintaining roads and services and making decent health care available to their families. What an idea!

To their credit, big business and industry employ thousands in our state, but such a truth should not exempt them from paying a fair share back to the state that has given them so much.

Sadly, rather than work cooperatively with Louisiana taxpayers, groups like the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry work to limit opportunities for our citizens. A chief target is education, which offers the promise of a better future for our children.

Educated people ask questions about how their money is being spent. Accordingly, LABI frequently works against the interests of education, especially higher education, arguing that Louisianians need access only to levels of education necessary for service in their industries. Similarly, health care should be cut further and roads should remain a disaster rather than see the profit margins of industry in any way compromised.

Find out who the candidates for the Legislature are in your district. If a candidate scored high on the LABI scorecard, or if they use code phrases such as “we want to restructure education in Louisiana so that it better serves the needs of industry,” then it is likely they plan to represent not the taxpayers of Louisiana but the masters of industry.

There is no need to raise one dime of taxes on Louisiana voters, but it is time to demand that existing tax dollars be spent on the general needs of the citizens rather than be earmarked for special interests.

On Saturday, Louisiana voters will decide whether taxpayers or special interests will control our future. Think of this great state and its children when you vote.

Samuel Hyde

author

Denham Springs