State Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, claimed in his March 16 letter that the Legislature had solved “a historic deficit.”
The recent announcement that the state is $70 million short in the current fiscal year and $750 million short in the fiscal year that starts in July shows we are far from “solving” this historic crisis.
Rep. Harris was right when he wrote that cooperating is the path to pulling Louisiana out of this ditch, and there was cooperation during the special session, just not enough.
Time and again, a group of Republicans — let’s call them the Disciples of No — voted against every bill that raised revenue. Time and again, these men and women put partisan politics before the needs of the people.
Time and again, they refused to deal with the reality facing the state.
The governor offered a comprehensive plan of budget cuts, spending savings and increasing revenues in shared sacrifice. The Disciples of No voted for cuts and spending savings and more taxes on consumers but flat-out refused to share the pain with big business.
The result is $70 million in more cuts to an already well-slashed budget this year and a massive $750 million hole next year.
Rep. Harris should know that we can’t cut our way out of this crisis. Louisiana faces unprecedented cuts that could force universities to close, end safety-net hospitals and make massive cuts to TOPS.
Rep. Harris is right that cooperation is the key to solving this disaster. Louisiana just needs more of it.
chairman, Louisiana House Democratic Caucus