We constantly hear the governor and our state legislators threaten cuts to education and health care. Why? Because these are the only two areas that remain unprotected and are the only two areas that our governor and state representatives can touch. They cannot cut anything else. Perhaps most do not realize that 72 percent of the Louisiana budget allocations are protected. That is, for every $1 collected in state taxes, 72 cents goes to dedicated areas with the remaining 28 cents equally divided — 14 cents to health and 14 cents to education!
We hear of raising the sales tax and many other taxes. Realize that for every new $1 raised — the same formula will apply — 72 cents goes to those areas that are dedicated and protected and only 14 cents going to health and 14 cents going to education. Raising taxes is not the solution — we need systemic changes. This should be the discourse. This is precisely what the media should be reporting and uncovering.
We will continue to hear in the years ahead that we have to cut education and health care unless systemic change is brought to how our — yours and mine — state tax dollars are allocated.
What is the 72 percent of my/our state tax dollars going to fund? What is protected and cannot be touched? This is what needs to be exposed. Not threatening health and education. Politicians are very reluctant to talk about travel allowances, car allowances, per diem allowances, consultants — as they will be making cuts to themselves (I believe we have 19,000 state consultants) — let’s expose the 72 percent of dedicated tax dollars.
Let us demand systemic changes.