Calling Louisiana’s finances over the past decade a train wreck is an insult to trains and the calamities that sometimes engulf them.
Bobby Jindal inherited a $1 billion surplus from Kathleen Blanco when he took office, plus a flood of federal and private sector disaster relief and recovery money, and — with the help of a pliant/intimidated/indifferent legislature, burned through all that and an additional $2 billion dollars before he shuffled off the podium at the Capitol in January 2016 to the great relief of just about everyone.
John Bel Edwards succeeded Jindal and has spent the first two years of his term trying to dig the state out of the hole Jindal left in his wake — despite the best efforts of the House Republican majority to keep us there by refusing to vote for the taxes needed to enable the state to deliver essential services needed by our citizens.
Jan Moller has been observing this entire process for the past decade from front row seats. First, he was a Capitol beat reporter for the Times-Picayune back in the days when they were a daily newspaper. For the past five years, he’s been the leader of the Louisiana Budget Project, an organization whose focus is to provide analysis of state budget and spending policies for the good people of our state who would like to be informed.
With the state’s long-standing ‘good guv’munt’ organizations reliant on conservative funders for their existence, the Louisiana Budget Project (which is part of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities) has brought a unique perspective (as in not dominated by corporate interests) to Louisiana’s budget discussions.
In the podcast, Moller and I discuss the budget that just emerged from the regular and special sessions of the Louisiana Legislature, the role of Medicaid expansion in helping economic development in Louisiana, the prospective impact of the first Trump budget on Louisiana as well as what may or may not be the impact of the American Health Care Act which has had more false starts than are allowed in track meets.
It’s a wide-ranging conversation that I think you’ll find worth you while. Jan knows his number!