Friday, February 27, 2015


Jindal's last minute LoomisMath today notwithstanding, the state budget wreck he's created is going to cause a great deal of pain.

The pain will be particularly bad for university students in the form of higher fees and university employees in the form of.. unemployment.

Also badly hurt will be approximately 57,000 uninsured patients who depend on New Orleans area community clinics.
The program is essentially a waiver of Medicaid eligibility for people who are age 19 to 64 and whose are at our below the federal poverty level, but who don't meet the current Medicaid eligibility requirements. Their incomes, for example, must be less than $11,496 per year for an individual or less than $23,556 for a family of four, for example.

"I know that these clinics provide valuable services," Nichols said during the budget hearing before the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget in Baton Rouge. But Nichols said the state has provided the match over the past several years with the hope and expectation that the local government would find a way to support it.
This could be alleviated if the state were to accept the expanded Medicaid provision of Obamacare but... Bobby Jindal doesn't think free money from the feds makes fiscal sense. This helps explain why we're in this position in the first place. 

Public schools will also be badly hurt by Jindal's proposals.  Although, we can't help but notice that his pet voucher program makes out okay in the process.
The governor’s public schools budget includes a nine percent increase in state aid for vouchers, to $46.1 million.

Vouchers are state aid for some students to attend private schools if they meet income and other requirements.

The program, which used to be limited to New Orleans, was expanded to a statewide effort in 2012 as part of Jindal’s public school overhaul that year.

The additional funding would allow another 679 students to qualify for vouchers.

About 7,200 students are taking part this year.
There's much much more pain to be described, of course.  The papers do a good job of filling you in.  As you read through that, though, keep in mind that it can, and very likely will, get much worse once the Legislature begins to tug at it.

Jindal's proposal relies heavily on lawmakers' willingness to claw back $526 million in refundable tax credits. If you listen carefully you can hear the sound of business and industry lobbyists mobilizing now to save their special favors. 

On the other hand, it could open the door for discussion about reigning in the largest and dumbest tax giveaway in the state.
Morrell said in an interview last week that the overall goal was "comprehensive reform" of the current iteration of the film tax credit program, which in its current form works like this: a project becomes eligible for motion picture tax credits once its in-state budget exceeds $300,000 worth of expenditures. Once finished, the film receives a 30 percent tax credit for the purchase of eligible, in-state goods and services and a 35 percent credit on local labor. The credits are then refundable by the state at 85 percent or transferable.

However, the state does not currently budget for this credit, so how much cash the state is on the hook for it can vary from year to year. 
Last year this program cost the state at least $250 million.  So if you're looking for change under cushions, that sounds like a good place to start digging.  Tom Benson probably has the rest but that money is all tied up in legal wrangling right now. He's trying to free it up, though.  The sooner the better. Otherwise the lawyers eat it all.

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