The LSU AgCenter has been informed that there is an estimated $912 million hole in the current operating budget for the State caused by overestimated revenue collections and increased operation costs. Additionally, based on current revenue collections and the use of non-recurring funds in the operating budget, next year's budget is expected to have a more than $2 billion shortfall. All budgetary decisions for the current year's deficit and next year's shortfall must be made during the special session which ends March 9.
The Governor is proposing the use of existing (one-time) funds and new revenue sources.
- Existing Revenue
- Rainy Day Fund- $128 million
- BP Settlement funds not dedicated to coastal- $200 million
- Reduction statutory dedicatedfunds not constitutionally protected by 10%
- New Revenue Generators
- "Clean Penny" Sales tax- Exempt groceries, prescription drugs and residential utilities
- Renew and increase landline and cellphone telecom tax to flat 5%
- Increase tobacco tax from $0.86 to $1.08/ pack
- Potential internet sales tax
- Repeal business utilities sales tax exemption
- Others can be found on Governor's web site
If new revenue sources are not identified and adopted the following scenario would be implemented based on available revenues. A current year reduction of this magnitude would require immediate financial exigency to implement layoffs, furloughs, and cancellation of existing contracts.
- It would be necessary to terminate programs at research stations.
- Layoffs would eliminate the parish based extension model.
- 4-H programs would be significantly impacted, or eliminated as a result of less agents available to conduct programs. (4-H currently reaches 187,000 individual youth in the state)
- Academic departments eliminated and degree programs in the College of Agriculture would be significantly consolidated and downsized.
Your legislator's contact information can be located at this link https://www.legis.la.gov/legis/FindMyLegislators.aspx