Bob Mann thinks Louisiana legislators should be working with a greater sense of urgency given our state’s dire financial circumstances, and I agree completely.
“Louisiana government is burning and lawmakers are fiddling around. To be sure, lawmakers must address important non-fiscal matters. But remember, our fiscal house is on fire. Unless lawmakers find another $750 million in cuts or tax increases before July 1, state hospitals will close and universities will be crippled. The work of the regular session, no matter how important, pales in comparison to our immediate fiscal emergency.
“Given the dire situation, lawmakers should consider working longer hours, including weekends, and wrap up their current session a bit early, maybe by late April or early May. That would give them time for another special session to fix the fiscal disaster they only partly addressed in February. …
“It’s not that we lack a way out of our crisis. We lack the political will.”
Instead of directing water toward the burning house, lawmakers have been busy considering some very urgent and important legislative initiatives like:
- Allowing hunters to wear bright pink instead of bright orange
- Perennial political legislating around the periphery of a woman’s right to choose
- Discussing the monuments and statues in Louisiana cities
- Wondering whether we should allow people to be buried with their pets (no, really)
- Suggesting that would-be exotic dancers should have to wait until they’re 21 to take the stage (who knew this was an issue?)
And on top of everything, legislative leaders are suggesting no cuts for their budgets despite the state’s $750 million budget gap for next fiscal year. Amazing.