Louisiana Legislature at Stalemate Over Massive Budget Deficit
John Serrano, VI Government Affairs Manager
VI is actively monitoring the Louisiana budget crisis and potential impacts on the vinyl industry. State lawmakers have been working to close a projected budget shortfall of nearly $950 million, the largest in state history, before the fiscal year ends on June 30. Newly elected Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards called the First Extraordinary Session of the Louisiana Legislature to close the deficit in the current fiscal year, and a more than $2 billion shortfall project in the next fiscal year.
The House and Senate have already passed two bills that would temporarily remove certain tax exemptions and exclusions for businesses, including business utilities and manufacturing machinery and equipment purchases. House and Senate staff are currently working to reconcile both pieces of legislation to determine how the two measures work together and what the fiscal impact would be. Additionally, the legislature passed a bill to raise the state sales tax by one cent, bringing it to the highest state sales tax in the country.
The Legislature passed nearly 70 pieces of legislation, and apparently fell short of their goal by $30 million for this fiscal year and $800 for next fiscal year. The gap is likely to be made up with additional cuts to healthcare services and the state Department of Education. The cuts would remove nearly all of the funding for the Department of Education until June 30. Universities have warned they would need to start laying off faculty and suspending classes over the next few weeks and some hospitals and clinics could shut down.
VI will continue monitoring the situation and work with our members in Louisiana to protect our industry against potential impacts. If you’d like more information or to get involved, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.