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Gov. John Bel Edwards listens to a question from a member of the media, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, flanked by state Dept. of Revenue Secretary Kimberly Robinson, left, at a press conference to announce details of his tax and budget reform proposals for the 2017 regular legislative session.

ADVOCATE STAFF PHOTO BY TRAVIS SPRADLING

When will our state's elected officials ever learn to solve our problems? Is everyone tired of having the same conversations about budget crises and taxes? Louisiana citizens deserve leadership from the Governor and the Legislature to solve our problems.

I am so tired about Louisiana being last in every indicator. We have gutted our budget, not invested in education, health care, infrastructure and damaged the long term stability of the state.

We need our elected officials to solve problems and not "kick the can down the road."

We have seen this strategy for 30 years. We started talking about fiscal reform when Buddy Roemer was elected Governor in 1987. Louisiana faced a fiscal crisis and Governor Roemer and the Legislature passed "a special sales tax" to raise money. The blue ribbon commission in the late 1980s recommended common sense fiscal reform to balance taxes on business and individuals. But no one wants to make long term strategic decisions to insure stable and adequate funding funding for state services.

After The SECURE Commission and Vision 2020, Gov. Mike Foster was able to pass the best effort at fiscal reform with the Stelly Plan. Unfortunately, Gov. Bobby Jindal dismantled the tax code, added exemptions and gave away the store to practically bankrupt the state.

Gov. John Bel Edwards is trying to stabilize the state. Last year, the "big accomplishment" from the Legislature was additional sales taxes. We need the Governor and the Legislature to actually read the report from the latest Blue Ribbon Commission and pass sensible legislation to adequately fund education, health care and services for families, transportation and infrastructure.

We need a common sense approach to invest in Louisiana. Citizens and businesses need to understand that critical state services, health care and education need to be funded. If you are tired of Louisiana being last in every quality of life indicator, then we have to make hard decisions to invest in our future if we want our kids to stay in Louisiana.

We cannot just cut or tax our way to prosperity. We need to demand a real plan from the governor and the Legislature. It is time to put Louisiana first.

Melissa S. Flournoy

former legislator

Baton Rouge