The recent front-page headline article by Tyler Bridges [“Sen. John Alario: Budget fixes won’t last”] is the first acknowledgement I’ve seen so far in the mainstream media that, once again, our leaders are kicking the fiscal can down the road.

No matter what the Senate does or what budget is ultimately enacted, everybody needs to pay close attention to the absolutely critical question of how much of the “fix” is permanent. If the bulk of the measures to “balance” the budget are temporary, it will prove we have learned absolutely nothing over the last decades.

Our history has proven that without direct action, money is not going to fall like manna from heaven because of projects in the pipeline or for any other speculative reasons. If, at some future point, Louisiana’s economy takes off like a rocket, wouldn’t it be a pleasant change to actually reduce taxes for legitimate reasons rather than because we got some bonus federal or other one-time money?

The time to fix the budget is now, not six months, a year, 2 years, or 3 years from now. In the past temporary measures have been signed off on as okay in order to allow more deliberation. These deliberations have yielded practically nothing, so why should we expect them to in the future?

The legislature is capable of doing something NOW if they just have the will to do so. There is no excuse for legislators to go home, again, patting themselves on the back for enabling Louisiana to limp through another year, if that.

Despite what anybody says, there is time to enact permanent measures now and not doing so will be inexcusable.

Stephen Winham

retired budget director

St. Francisville